The Boatman Does Not Use a Wooden Goose 

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Earlier, when you were sitting, I said, there are no things in front of the eyes. There are no things before the eyes. Mind is before the eyes. I would call that a teaching, or a verbal expression of teaching. And there is a commonly repeated Zen saying that there is a special transmission outside


of the teaching, outside of the verbal teaching. So there is a transmission of the teaching outside the verbal transmission of the teaching. And I am talking now and saying that there is a source of the verbal teachings, and that source is the actual teaching. So ancient teachers say we must realize the source of the teachings.


We must realize the source of the teachings which are appearing to us as words, or as word images, and not try to grasp the truth of the teachings in the words. There is a way of receiving the words, there is a way of receiving the verbal teachings which emanate from the non-verbal source, such that we can enter the source, and in the source we receive this special transmission of the teachings, which isn't in the words.


And in a way, you know, it says that there is a special transmission that doesn't depend on words, but I don't know, in a way I would say it somewhat differently, that the transmission of the teaching does depend on the words in the sense that it depends on relating to the words in a way that allows us to enter the source of the words. So I say again the words, the words are, there are no things in front of the eyes, and this expression is an English translation of a Chinese expression, and the person who is saying this is a teacher named Jia Shan, and the Chinese says there are no, and the


character there is a character which means it's used for things, phenomena, but also is a character that's used for teaching, and it's used for truth, and it's used for the law, like the law of the universe. The Chinese character for Dharma, like the Sanskrit word Dharma, means the teaching, it means the truth, and it means phenomena. So there's no things or phenomena in front of you, but also there's no truth in front of you. There's no, the teaching isn't really in front of you. The verbal expression of the teaching is in front of you. What's in front of you is the mind appearing to you as though it were out in front of you. So this is a verbal teaching about that reality, the reality that what's in front of you is


not actually something in front of you. There are phenomena, it's just that they aren't in front of you. They're you, they're your mind. Can we give Galen a seat someplace? Maybe right, maybe in front of Amanda? Welcome Galen. This teaching of Joshan is a teaching which was, this verbal teaching of Joshan is a verbal


teaching that was transmitted to his student Lupu. So he transmitted these words, but also apparently the source of these words was also transmitted between Joshan and Lupu. So Lupu can bring up this teaching and be in touch with the source of the teaching as it's brought up. And Joshan, Lupu's teacher, also perhaps could express this verbal Dharma coming from the source of Dharma. So I offer you this verbal teaching which is that if we can really be kind to what appears


in front of us, we can realize that there's nothing in front of us. If we can be kind to what appears to be separate from our mind and body, we can realize that it's not separate. So when we hear the teaching that nothing's out in front of you, nothing's in front of your eyes, that teaching may seem to be in front of your eyes. And if you can be kind to that teaching, you can realize that that teaching is not in front of your eyes from the source of that teaching. In the Sashin which we recently had at Green Gulch, we studied a story about a man who


taught Lupu. It's a story about when Lupu was about to die. It's a story about a man who taught Lupu. So now you have a piece of paper that has words on it.


And these words are a story about when a so-called Zen master was about to die in China. And the date is about 898. Everything is just like it was then, back in 898, except you are there.


And you weren't there in 898. So these are words which Lupu says, do not grasp the meaning of this story in these words. Do not grasp the meaning of what I'm saying now in the words I'm saying to you. So here's a story about such a person. So we look at these words in such a way that we don't try to get the meaning from the words, but that we use these words as an opportunity to enter the source of this story, the source of this enlightened life, of this tradition. As we discuss this, as these words are being discussed with words,


perhaps you will see something to take care of. You can take care of the words. You can take care of your body and mind as you experience these words. And I'm saying to you that it would be good if you were very kind to everything that's given to you to take care of. And everything that's given to you is given to you to take care of. If you take really good care of these words, you may be able to enter the source of them. Let me just say that Lu Pu said on the first day of the twelfth lunar month,


he said to his friends, If I don't die tomorrow, it will then be soon after. Today, I have just one thing to ask you people. And that leads into this story. Shall we read it? When Lu Pu was about to die, he said to the assembly, I have one thing to ask you people. If this is so, this is adding a head on top of your head. If this is not so, this is seeking life by cutting off your head. The head monk said,


Green mountains are always moving their feet. Don't hang a lamp in broad daylight. Lu Pu said, or you could say scolded, What time is this to make such a speech? Then a certain elder, Yan Song, came forth and said, Leaving these two paths aside, I request the teacher not ask. Lu Pu said, Not quite, speak again. Yan Song said, I can't tell at all. Lu Pu said, I don't care if you can tell it all or not.


I don't care if you can say it all or not. Yan Song said, As your attendant, it's hard to answer the teacher. Another translation is, I have no attendant to answer the teacher. That evening, Lu Pu called elder Yan Song and said, Your answer today was most reasonable. You should experientially realize the saying of my late teacher, Before the eyes, there are no things. The mind is before the eyes. That is not something before the eyes.


The eyes are not in reach of the ears or eyes. And then Lu Pu says, Which phrases are guest and which phrases are host? If you can pick them out, I'll impart the robe and bowl to you. Yan Song said, I don't understand. Lu Pu said, You should understand. Yan Song said, I really don't. Lu Pu shouted and said, Tough, isn't it? Tough, isn't it? The next day, during the noon session, a monk came forward and asked Lu Pu about the previous day's conversation. Saying,


What is the teacher's meaning? Lu Pu said, The boat of compassion is not rowed over pure waters. Over the precipitous straits, it is wasted effort to set out a wooden goose. Lu Pu then passed away. Approximately 250 years later, another venerable student of the Dharma wrote this verse, The bait is clouds, the hook, the moon. Fishing in the clear pond, What do you have, water? Clear waters? Fishing in the clear waters.


Olden years, alone at heart, he hasn't got a fish yet. One song, leaving the clamor, Dying away? Dies away? On the Milo River, a solitary, lonely man, sober man. So I, as a guide to discussing this verbal teaching, in order, or for the sake of entering the source of this teaching, the source of this and all Buddha's teachings, all Buddha's verbal teachings, I would say have the same source,


and a guide to how to deal with the verbal teachings in such a way as to enter the source of the teachings, the actual teachings, not their verbal expression only, how to give up trying to grasp the meaning in the words and enter the source of the Buddha's words. There's an excellent instruction, which is, The bait is clouds, the hook, the moon. So, this teaching, can you find the clouds in this teaching? Those clouds, can you find the clouds in the words?


Can you see the cloudiness of the words? Can you see, can you see the words not as a worm, or a minnow, but something more subtle that you can't get a hold of? These words, if these words are like clouds to you, then you're on the right track. And then, use the moon, it can be a full moon, a half moon, a crescent moon, use the moon as your hook. Last week, we had a full moon, or nearly full moon to use, which is particularly nice to use for cloud bait. To fish for the meaning, not in the words, the meaning is not in the words,


the meaning comes forth in the way you relate to the words. And if you can see, or understand that the words are cloud-like, if you can see the subtlety and nuance, right before you, and if you can see that the before you is also cloud-like, this is instruction about how to enter the source of the words. This story has layers upon layers of transmissions of the source, and layers upon layers of transmission of the words. The layers of transmission of the source are layers of intimacy


between generations of students and teachers, and also there are layers of verbal instruction given in historical time, which emerges from the same source. So when Lu Pu was about to die, he brings up a teaching which echoes back through all the generations from him, back through his Dharma parent, and Dharma grandparent, and Dharma great-grandparent, all the way back to the Buddha Shakyamuni. This teaching he gives echoes back all the way.


As I bring up the closer generations, it is easier to see, and sets up the ability to see the thread going back farther. That often is the case, is that you can maybe see in the generation before, or the generation, sometimes it's like we say, it skips one generation, so sometimes you can see it more in the grandparent than in the parent. But anyway, this first teaching that Lu Pu gives as he's about to die, the first thing he says to his students, he says he's going to ask a question, and what he says is more like a teaching. The teaching is, if this is so, basically, that's adding a head on top of your head, if this is not so, that's cutting your head off, that's seeking life by cutting your head off. The previous one is the same,


it's like, this is so is like seeking life by adding something on, this is not so is seeking life by cutting something off. Okay, so this echoes back to his grand, great-grand, great-great-grandparent. So Lu Pu's great-great-grandparent is, well actually, it goes back to his great-great-grandparent and his great-great-grandparent's parent. So his great-great-grandparent is a monk named, what's his great-great- that's hard for you, yeah? Anyway, not to be silly, but who is his great-great-grandparent?


Who is it? Go ahead, somebody tell me. Who? Lin Ji. No, Lin Ji is like, kind of like his uncle. Lin Ji, Lu Pu studied with Lin Ji. So Lin Ji's first teacher is Lin Ji, Lu Pu's first teacher is Lin Ji, his second teacher is Jia Shan. So who is his great-great-grandparent? His great-great-grandparent is, okay, Yao Shan. Yao Shan is his great-great-grandparent. So his parent is Jia Shan, his grandparent is the boatman, his great-great-grandparent is Yao Shan, and his great-great-


great-great-great-grandparent is Xiu Tou. So Xiu Tou means on top of the rock, or rock head, Yao Shan means medicine mountain, and boatman means boatman. And Jia Shan means jaw mountain, that's the mountain where Jia Shan lived. So Yao Shan, went to see Yao Shan, was a wholehearted student of the verbal teaching, particularly the verbal teaching of the precepts, Bodhisattva and monk precepts, he really studied them and tried to practice them, and he tried to get the meaning of the words in the words, and he was unsuccessful.


Somehow he wound up meeting this person called Xiu Tou, who apparently sat on top of a rock all the time, so they called him on top of the rock, Mr. Monk on top of the rock. He went to see Monk on top of the rock, and he said, would you please show me the meaning of these teachings that I've been studying for a long time. Great-great-great-grandparent says, being just so won't do. Not being just so won't do either. Being both just so and not being just so won't do at all.


How about you? Saying it's in the word won't do. Saying it's not in the word won't do either. How about you? And the wonderful living being, the wonderful future great teacher, Yao Shan, had nothing to say and said, would you please tell me more? And Xiu Tou said, go see my friend Master Ma. So at that time there were two especially, what's the word, auspicious teachers in China. Auspicious, which means conducive to success in transmitting the source of all the teachings.


These two masters, Xiu Tou and Ma Tzu. Ma Tzu had 139 successful transmissions, enlightened disciples. He had thousands of disciples, but 139 entered the source and coughed it up. Entered the source and you could say made it their own, but also made themselves the source's own. So he went to see Master Ma and basically asked the same question. Now he might have told Master Ma about what his conversation was on top of the rock. Or he might not have, and then you might think,


well, it's amazing then if he didn't tell him. But anyway, Master Ma said, sometimes I make him raise his eyebrows and blink. Sometimes I don't make him raise his eyebrows and blink. Sometimes raising the eyebrows and blinking is right. Right, right. Sometimes raising the eyebrows and blinking is not right. How about you? On this occasion, as I remember, Yao Shan started to bow, profusely crying. And Master Ma said, Oh, what's going on that you're bowing like this?


And Yao Shan said, Now it's often translated as trying to bite, but literally that character means mount, but you could say, well, what do mosquitoes do when they mount? But anyway, it's like a mosquito trying to mount an iron bull. And people are still trying that. Even recently someone's tried that at Green Gulch. So, the great Master Ma said, Okay, great. You're enlightened. I mean, we're enlightened. Finally. But your teacher is Sherto.


So Yao Shan went back and studied with Sherto for many years. And, which is good news for us, because then we had stories about their studies together. I'm trying to like stop myself from telling you stories about their time together. But I can't do it. So one time Yao Shan was sitting in meditation, and Sherto comes up to him and says, What are you doing sitting there? And Yao Shan said, I'm not doing anything at all. I'm not doing anything at all.


Sherto said, Then are you sitting idly? And Yao Shan said, If I were sitting idly, I would be doing something. And Sherto said, You say you're not doing anything at all. What is this not doing anything at all that you're doing? Or that you're not doing? And Yao Shan said, Even the ten thousand sages don't know. And Sherto said, We've been traveling along together for quite a while now. Ever since back in the days when he tried to mock me and bite me. Just according to the circumstances of daily life, traveling along,


singing a song, side by side, through all kinds of weather, it doesn't matter at all. And yet, I didn't know who he was. And I still don't. But I'm happy to travel with him. Because even the ten thousand sages don't know who he is. How could some impatient, hasty person know? So then Yao Shan had many disciples, but three big ones are, one is called Yun Yan, another one is called Da Wu. And apparently Yun Yan and Da Wu were actually biological brothers. But also they studied together with the great master Bai Zhang. And Da Wu was older,


by a number of years. And Yun Yan had the opportunity from the time he was 14 until he was 34. I don't know if actually the whole time, but anyway, I think maybe he was studying with the great master for 20 years as his attendant. And when the teacher died, he still didn't, he still hadn't gotten to the source of the teachings. This great Zen master is putting out these teachings all the time from the source. The faithful would say, the teachings of the Zen master are coming from the source, but the teachings, the words, are not the source. They're not separate from the source, but you can't get the source, you can't get the truth in the words. And he sat there and listened to these words for 20 years and didn't get to the source. And then the great master Bai Zhang died, so he and his brother traveled and went to study with,


I guess maybe different teachers, but anyway, they wound up with Yao Shan, and they became Yao Shan's disciples, successors. And then another important disciple of Yao Shan is a person who we call the Boatman. And when Yao Shan died, the Boatman said to his Dharma brothers, you two are like, you two are the kind of guys that can like come out in the open and teach lots of people and, you know, be leaders in a monastery. I'm kind of lazy and I'd like a more, kind of less structured way, so I'm going to go, you know, do it a different way than you are. But I'll keep you informed of where I am. My location will be known to you. And if you run into any, especially excellent people who are really ripe,


send them to me, send me one of them, and I'll finish them off. And there was a monk named Yao Shan, that wasn't his name when he was, before he was the head of Yao Shan, but anyway, he was a Buddhist teacher. He studied Buddhism, he studied Buddha Dharma, he studied the words, and he was really good with them, and people assembled to listen to him talk about the words in hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there. They wanted to understand Buddhism, they thought, listening to these wonderful talks, maybe they would actually be able to enter the source from which these talks gave, and Da Wu, actually, traveling around before he set up his own monastery, went to hear Yao Shan.


And Yao Shan is giving a talk, and some monk says to him, What's the Dharmakaya? What's the true body of Buddha? And Yao Shan knew the answer. The true body of Buddha is formlessness. Formless or formlessness. It's like vast space. What's the next line? Does somebody remember what the next line is? Anyway, the monk asked him another question, and he gave an answer, which I don't remember. Yeah, Dharma eyes, what's the question? Yeah, what are the Dharma eyes? And the answer is something. Huh? It seems reasonable. They're clear! So Yao Shan knew the right answer,


and Charlie knows the right answer. And at that point, Da Wu laughed out loud, which was unusual back in those days. And Yao Shan, wonderfully, got down from his lecture seat and went over to Da Wu and said, Perhaps I've made some kind of error. Please instruct me. So this is, this is somebody who's ripe. Who's teaching people, and he hears the laugh of a well-trained master, and he gives up his position and goes to the teacher. And Da Wu says, No, I'm not going to teach you. But I have a friend who asked me to send people to him. So I recommend you go see him,


and his name is the Boatman. Now he got the name Boat, he wasn't called the Boatman when he was studying with Yao Shan. He's called the Boatman because he went and lived by a lake, the Hua Ting Lake in China, and he gave people rides across the lake from one shore to the other. But he didn't, he didn't say, Guess who's rowing this boat? I am a disciple of Yao Shan. I'm a Zen master. He didn't tell him that. He just rowed them across, and then he got the name Boatman. So his brothers called him Boatman, and they sent Yao Shan to the Boatman, and they had a nice interaction. Which I don't remember except


that last part where after Yao Shan realized the source of the teachings which he had been giving for years, and he realized the source in his interactions with the Boatman, he then departed from the Boatman, and as he was leaving, the Boatman said, Venerable teacher, he raised his oar and said, Is there anything else? And then he tipped over his boat and disappeared in the water. Completing the transmission of the source, he tipped over his boat, he retired from ferryman activity, and disappeared in the water. Now some people think he died, and some people think


he went to some other place. Some people don't think he died. I'm one of those people. Hi. So now we've got Yao Shan, and and Lumpu gets together with Yao Shan, and Yao Shan teaches, before the eyes there are no things, there are no dharmas, there is no dharma. The mind is before the eyes. It's not something reached by ears and eyes. That's his teaching. And then, and then Lumpu gives his teacher's teaching to


Yao Shan gives his teacher's teachings to who? Who? Lumpu, right. Yao Shan gives his tea... I mean Lumpu Lumpu gives his... Lumpu gives Yao Shan's teaching to Yan Song, excuse me. And that's that's the big thing up ahead of us now here. Before that I'd like to just take a slight voyage back in time in the boat, in the boat of compassion. Ready? All aboard. Here we go. So back from Yao Shan. Remember what Yao Shan asked Sherto? Help me see the source. What did Sherto say? Being like this, being just so won't do.


Not being like this won't do either. So can you see that teaching in Lumpu's teaching? And then you go back before Yao Shan. Actually it's before Yao Shan and Sherto. It's Sherto that gave that teaching. So you go back before Sherto to Qingyuan, and then back before Qingyuan to the sixth ancestor of Zen. And when he met his teacher, excuse me, when when another one of the six ancestors students came to see the sixth ancestor, the sixth ancestor said where are you from? And the sixth ancestor, and the the monk named Nanyue who's coming to see the sixth ancestor is asked where is he from? He says I'm from Mount Sung. And the sixth ancestor says what is it that has come? Where do you come from? Mount Sung. What is it that thus comes? Which is a play on words.


It's both asking him what has come, but also he's using the expression for Buddha. Tathagata, thus come one. What is the Buddha? Is the same as saying what is it that comes? What comes is an appearance or a word like oh Buddha or Buddha's words, that's what that's what comes. But where does it come from? And the great student Nanyue says to say it's this, misses the point. So there we see


the teaching in the sixth ancestor. And then just go all the way back from the sixth ancestor to the first ancestor, the Buddha who comes into the hall, goes up in the seat, sits down, shows his body and sees if somebody can relate to his body without trying to grasp the meaning in his body. Someone can look and listen to his silence and his stillness without grasping the meaning of his silence and stillness in his silence and stillness. And Manjushri he gets worried that nobody is understanding the source or not even noticing that he is showing something to not grab.


So then he hits the gavel and says look, look at the teaching of the sovereign of the teaching. The teaching of the sovereign of teachings like this. And now today I say the Buddha got down in disgust because Manjushri said this is so. But then Brzee felt like he had to do it otherwise people might miss the show. But it was already there. It was enough already so Manjushri really messed things up. Now in this story where the teacher is


said he is going to ask a question and he gives his teaching it is not clear to me if that was his question or that was his teaching and he was going to ask his question after he said if this is so, this is adding a head and so on it is not clear to me that he was going to then follow that up with a question. Maybe he was and the head monk interfered. And what did the head monk do? Actually the head monk quoted one of Lu Pu's teachings which is Lu Pu taught that the green mountains are always lifting their feet. He quoted his teacher's teaching so the teacher says to say to say this is so to say that is off to say this is not so is off and then the student brings up a teaching the green mountains are always lifting their feet which again is the correct answer


but not the correct answer. So then the elder comes forward and says put aside these alternatives putting them aside, ok I just say please don't ask. So in a way it looks like he didn't get his chance to ask the question. He was going to ask a question the head monk interrupts him and then the elder Yang Tsang comes forward and said please teacher don't ask the question. We heard your teaching, let's just put your teaching aside of these two paths of this is so and this is not so let's just set those aside and now would you please not ask the question that you want to ask us as you're dying. Please don't ask it. And what does Lu Pu say? You got it. Not quite, in other words pretty good


but it's pretty good that you're asking me not to ask my question but you didn't quite get it. And I would say pretty good you didn't quite get it are you going to try to get it? Pretty good you didn't get it that was pretty good that you didn't get it. Pretty good that you asked me to set my teaching aside as I'm about to die and also don't ask the question, that's pretty good. Can you really demonstrate that you didn't get anything there? And so say some more, [...] say some more and Yang Tsang says I can't say it all and Lu Pu says I don't care if you can say it all or not and he says as your attendant it's hard to answer the teacher.


That translation is like I'm your attendant and you're about to die so I'm having a hard time answering you because I don't want people to think that I'm the cause of your death by the way I answer. So I feel like I'm scared to be I'm really scared to say more. Or the other translation is I don't have an attendant to ask for me I should get somebody else to ask for me because I'm not going to ask. So since I don't have an attendant that's it for now boss. So that's the end of that and then that night the story goes on. But now time for a word from our sponsor. Yes? I thought you meant my attendant I don't have a means I don't have somebody to send to do it. Yeah that's impossible I don't have somebody to do it


because I'm not going to do it and I can't get anybody else to do it either. This is like we're done here boss. You can say speak again if you want to but that's all for now and the teacher accepts that and calls him in at the night and he says I'm going to give you another teaching now let's see if you can like experientially realize it in other words see if you can get to the source of this teaching. So he gives this teaching this wonderful teaching this wonderful verbal teaching which is pointing to the reality from which it's coming and then he says further if you can go in there and tell where the host and the guest are host and guest is sometimes seen to be there's two kinds of different understandings of host and guest one would be teacher and student


the teacher is the host the student is the guest that's one but I also mentioned during the talk that the word host host originally meant guest still does to some extent host meant foreigners or visitors, a lot of them it meant a foreign army originally so host over time switched to the one who greets the guest but originally host meant the guest and that's going on here too if you can pick out host and guest but host how are you going to pick out host and guest? which is which? can you get in there and pick out host and guest without grasping? see if you can do it Elder Yansang and Yansang says I don't understand which? literally that means I don't understand but he didn't mean I don't understand


he just means I'm not going to answer your question I'm not going to grasp I'm not going to pick out the host and guest I don't understand I'm going to I'm going to work with a cloud here and then Lu Pu said you should understand and he says I really don't and then he says tough isn't it? so in the verse it says fishing in so somebody's using cloud bait and somebody's using moon hook and somebody's fishing in clear water and they're old in years alone at heart and hasn't got a fish yet so who is that? is that Lu Pu who hasn't caught his fish? he's about to die


and he wants to catch a big fish as he's about to die is it literally true that he didn't catch a fish? or is he being ironic and inviting you to enter this space what space? the space between you and Lu Pu as I said everything's like it was then Lu Pu's there and the students are there except you're there too and there's a space between you and Lu Pu and also Tien Tung 250 years later is also inviting us into that space of student and teacher the space between the student and teacher where the source is realized the place where we use


clouds as bait to catch the golden fish or to be a golden fish so somebody can catch us to be the golden disciple of Buddha to be the golden disciple of the golden Buddha or to catch a golden Buddha with what? cloud bait moon hooks how do we catch this? I feel the impulse to scream but I'm also feeling quite polite so so I'm encouraging I'm trying to encourage I've been successful in encouraging myself and I'm trying to encourage you


to go fishing for the source of Buddha's teaching with cloud bait cloud bait and moon hooks to try to enter the space to meet the source of Buddha's teaching without excluding words or trying to get the meaning from them to enter the subtle ungraspable nuance of Buddha and sentient beings enter that subtle resonance between your wish to meet the Buddha and realize reality together with the Buddha and the Buddha's willingness to meet you there but the slightest grasping will


interfere with this meeting so I'm again trying to encourage us to enter this subtle space between ourselves and the ancestors and the teachings they've given I heard straight moon hooks work best straight moon hooks? or round ones are nice too round ones are straight they're completely round yeah so we're very fortunate to have these round hooks that never really that can't actually hook a fish but fishes can jump over them you heard about the fish that jumped over the moon, right? I I put on most of my weight


50 pounds of which I've lost in Minnesota and next to Minnesota there's two states one's called North Dakota and one's called South Dakota and I think there's a movement to change the names North Dakota doesn't like to be called North Dakota they want to change it to something else but anyway, in that part of the world they have a lot of hailstorms and I heard and the hailstones get really big there for various reasons and that sometimes the hailstones fall and have various things inside them and I heard that one hailstone fell and had a fish inside of it now I don't know how big the fish was but there was a fish inside of it does it sound like a fish story? it does sound like a fish story


now I have a theory about how it happened want to hear it? the way the hailstones get the way the hail balls get big is it's rain that falls it's rain falling a raindrop falling and then it freezes but if you freeze a raindrop it's not a very big piece of hail but as the hail falls the frozen raindrop falls it falls into an area where the water is not freezing anymore and the water the liquid water coats the frozen water and the wind updrafts the frozen water


the moistened frozen water up higher and it freezes so by cycling it round and round from lower altitudes to higher altitudes you can make bigger and bigger hail balls and this particular pattern of wind movement and rain with cold air happens out in the prairies and can make really huge huge balls of hail which then actually destroy buildings and crush cars not to mention ruin crops how about the fish the fish also get lifted up into the air by the wind these hailstorms are often almost like tornadoes and they can lift large objects off the ground they're not as bad as tornadoes I haven't heard of a truck hailstone


but trucks do get lifted high in the air but that's usually a slightly different thing usually it's not so common to have how do you call it hail with tornadoes but anyway you lift the fish up into the rain you lift the fish up into the rain and the fish get wet then the wet fish gets lifted up higher and the wetness freezes on the fish then the fish gets lowered down in the air and gets wet more and gets lifted up and that way the fish gets coated over and over with water which freezes and then water on top of the frozen and you actually create a hail ball around the fish that's my theory of how that could happen and everything's just as it was then when that happened except you are there do you see the fish now that's my fish story


what do you think Laurie? you like it? yeah I thought so too this is the best I ever told that fish story Steph's from that part of the country too have you heard about the fish hailstones? not until today so so that's what I that's what I said and if any elders or baby fish want to come forward and say anything you're welcome to do so yes I heard actually a related story


to your fish story there were some rescued fishermen and and the fishermen said that actually a cow destroyed their boat coming from the sky and nobody believed them it was happening I think in Russia so until it was found that during that time they had sort of a Japanese fishermen sorry? I don't know but so there was a transporting plane which got into trouble or so they had to release their load and their load contained cows and so one of the cows destroyed their boat that must have been an amazing experience so


be careful of those people up there if they have to lighten up at all I don't particularly propose supernatural things I just think that things can happen according to natural laws of cause and effect but sometimes they're just so wonderful they seem so wonderful because we have trouble getting anywhere near imagining how they would happen other than some special kind of cause that's not a normal kind of cause but you can make almost anything with everyday normal causes but sometimes the way they get together produces unusual things like for example Buddhas and so there's causes for Buddhas which means to be kind


to the illusion that other beings are out there in front of you if we can be kind to that that's one of the conditions that makes a Buddha that makes someone who understands that there's nothing out there separate that there's just conscious construction and in the realm that's free of conscious construction that's a realm where there aren't where things aren't put together into packages where everything's just resonating mutual support yes setting out a wooden goose


is putting something in a package but it's a special kind of package so when you're rowing the boat of compassion you're practicing compassion towards for example a boat and towards passengers on the boat and towards the water so when you're rowing the boat of compassion as a matter of fact you're rowing the boat of compassion and you're rowing it in precipitous straits and the precipitous straits are where you're dealing with things that appear to be out there when you're dealing with safety and unsafety when you're dealing with birth and death these are precipitous states precipitous states and precipitous straits that's where the boat of compassion is operating so it is dealing with with what? packaged things there's no need for compassion where things aren't packaged where things aren't packaged


there's no birth and death birth and death is the realm of packaging this is birth this is death this is suffering this is birth which you can grasp therefore it's suffering this is death you can grasp therefore it's suffering so that's where the boat of compassion operates the boat of compassion operates in packaged land in packaging land what this is saying is that to go through these precipitous straits in the best way do not put a wooden duck out in front to figure out how to do it wooden duck is something that boat captains would put out in front of them and they'd watch how the duck would go through the straits and they'd follow the pattern of the duck to figure out how to go and you know they felt that that was a pretty good way to deal with the world of birth and death but the compassion doesn't do that


it doesn't put something out there to figure out how to proceed it just deals with what's here and doesn't think ahead and try to follow somebody else's example of what is for example even compassion practice compassion without saying this is compassion or practice compassion without copying the buddhas practice compassion the same way you practice with the illusion of somebody being out there namely you try to deal with it more subtly than this is the way this is the way the wooden duck is using something other than what you've got to figure out how to proceed and that's not being recommended for the boat of compassion for the boat of trying to make in the world of birth and death to try to make a boat that's not going to crash then you use wooden ducks but in in operating a boat that is crashing all the time you don't use wooden ducks


and the boat of compassion is constantly being crunched and transformed and crunched and rebuilt and crunched in that boat we don't use a wooden duck and someone said isn't it ok to use wooden ducks and I would say yes it's fine to use wooden ducks and I had this picture of Lu Pu rowing his boat and on board are some people selling wooden ducks either to put on strings and let them you know trail behind the boat or throw them out in front for entertainment and security blanket type of activity so there is a period which you know it's understood that you need wooden ducks or you know what do you call it what do they call those blankets security blankets people need them so people can have


security blankets and wooden ducks but they are not yet ready to practice compassion but we have compassion towards them so we pass out wooden ducks if people need them and we don't who aren't yet ready to like really take on compassion boat operation ok so sometimes it's good to give wooden ducks but if you are really rowing the boat through the precipitous straits it's a distraction and doesn't really help but sometimes giving out wooden ducks and security blankets gets people on board and then they can watch how the experienced rowers deal with the situation and they'll notice oh they aren't looking ahead at wooden ducks I am but they're not I feel more secure


looking at how the ducks going it kind of makes me feel like it's possible that I'll survive but I notice the people actually operating the boat aren't looking at the duck they're looking at the water and me ok so later today we can or for the rest of our lives we can study the story it's yeah it's it's endlessly it's endlessly vibrating with the Buddhas thank you for receiving this rather highly concentrated piece of Zen lore both in its superficial verbal and literary form and also for opening to its actual abysmal source who left over there yeah may


our intention equally extend to every being and place with the true merit of Buddha's way beings are numberless I vow to save them delusions are inexhaustible I vow to end them Dharma gates are boundless I vow to enter them Buddha's way is unpassable I vow to become it now there's an opportunity to fish


with rice and tea