Bodhisattva Practice Includes Everything

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Buddha's 'a good place for a sanctuary'; karma is a place to build a sanctuary; extending out practice outside the zendo; expressing from a place before you were born;

AI Summary: 



We often say, we vow from this life on, through our countless lives, to hear the true dharma. I cautiously say that this dharma that we vow to hear is inaudible. This dharma which we vow to see is invisible. Invisible. Like light. Light is invisible. We only see it reflected. I didn't think in olden times that I had a wish to realize something that was invisible.


Now I'm thinking that maybe I do want to realize something, that I have a desire for something that's invisible, which I might call the dharma. The story which I told earlier about the world-honored one walking along with a group and pointing to the earth and saying this is a good spot, that part of the story could be interpreted


as the world-honored one saying that the earth is a good place to build sanctuaries. This spot is a good spot. And the earth is each one of us and every thought and feeling in our mind. Every sentient being is the earth and every sentient being is a good place to build sanctuaries on the ground. It's good to build sanctuaries on the ground. One way


to understand ground is ground is our karma. My karma, your karma. So our karma is a good place to build a sanctuary. Karma is where we have our problems. Karma is the ground of our suffering too. So the ground of our suffering is a good place to build a sanctuary in the middle of our suffering. And the first part of that is like to practice


virtue, to practice generosity with our karma. Be careful with it. Be conscientious with it. Be patient with it. Be diligent with it. Be calm with it. And then we can have wisdom with our karma. And then the next part of the story is the leader of the gods takes a blade of grass and sticks it in the earth and says, the sanctuary is built. So, I start out by interpreting this as, again, this leader of the gods is in the middle of


all the gods, but also is in the group, the Buddha's group. So in the midst of this great assembly, one of the leaders takes a blade of grass and puts it in the ground and in this way builds a sanctuary. Puts a blade of grass, for example, in our karma. And this comes from, I think, being grounded, to be able to take that grass and put it in the earth and proclaim the building of the sanctuary. I don't know exactly where, and I wouldn't set a beginning on the mind of the great sage of India. I think it embraces his whole story. And also the intimate and mysterious transmission


of this mind. Also, I don't see it in necessarily one part, but particularly the mystery of it and the intimacy of it, I feel, is in the building of the sanctuary. The Buddha points to where to build. Where to build, this is a good spot to build it. So that Buddha's instruction, and there's an intimate transmission there. But in a way, it's not so mysterious. If the Buddha is saying, this is a good place, we can hear that, we can think, okay. But to build a sanctuary, that seems more mysterious. How is planting a blade of grass a sanctuary, a place of refuge and safety for beings? How is it that my hand gestures, that when my fingers come together, my thumb touches


a finger and a piece of grass is in between, how is it that that karma builds a sanctuary for you? How is it that my action, which I want my action to be building a sanctuary here, in my karma, how is it that my practice of working with these fingers makes a sanctuary for you? How is my practice your transformation and enlightenment? And I, in a way, that question stands, but then now I shift a little bit over to where


there were Indra talks and saying, my hand gestures are the building of the sanctuary. I still wonder how, but now I'm proclaiming that my practice is building a sanctuary for me and you. My practice, which I can see and hear, my karma, which I can see and hear, the way I'm working with that to build a sanctuary is the same as building a sanctuary. Even though I can't really see a sanctuary in a blade of grass, it's invisible. That's the hard part to understand. That's the mysterious aspect of the transmission. So sometimes a transmission seems to be visible and audible. Buddha point, karma. Buddha talk,


karma. You point, you talk. I use these words to perform the building of the sanctuary. I use these words to perform the Buddha mind. And again, as Indra would say, with these words the sanctuary is built. And many Zen students, when they're, for example, sitting, their karma, they're sitting, they do not think that where they're sitting and their


action of physical posture, they do not think that they are building a sanctuary by that sitting. They might think, oh, this is good for me to be sitting and maybe if I sit here I will be, I don't know what, someday beneficial, or I will be benefited. But they also often ask, in relationship to sitting, they say, how is our sitting here helping all the people who are not sitting? And particularly when things get very stressful and frightening, they feel like they have to do something other than what they're doing to help people. They are doing things, but they don't see what they're doing as the transformation of


the lives of suffering people, of others. So I guess I'm joining those who assert that by your own karma, by your own practice, all beings are transformed. So this is what I wish to work on this year. Building sanctuaries, moment by moment. Building places for intimate transmission. Moment by moment, place by place. Recognizing that


this is difficult to believe and difficult to understand. Someone said to me in the kitchen yesterday, or the day before yesterday, at Green Dragon Temple, that he heard that a novelist said that the job of a literary artist, maybe, was to harmonize or unify virtue and mystery. And then the person said, and maybe the job


of a Zen artist is the same, to harmonize or unify virtue and mystery. Many Zen students, I think, do believe, and they seem to think they understand, that it's good to practice virtue. One way to practice virtue is to sit upright and be mindful of your life, and be careful of your life, and be conscientious with your actions, and be patient, and so on. These are virtues. What did they say? Patience is the greatest virtue? Generosity is the greatest virtue? Ethical discipline is the greatest virtue? Heroic effort is the greatest virtue? All these are great virtues. And many Zen students say, yeah, practice those virtues. But even though they are happy to practice those virtues,


they still sometimes are asked, or ask themselves, what does this have to do with all the suffering people in the world who are not practicing virtue? I have never heard of it, or have heard of it, but they are too stressed to think about practicing it. How does that work? And I think, again, many people would say, if you say, does the Buddha practice virtue? Many people would probably say, well, yeah. But still, many people think, well, the Buddha is practicing virtue, which is great. The Buddha has this great practice. And then there are lots of other people who need to be transformed. But again, part of what I want to go over


with you, again and again, is that the Buddha's practice is the transformation of beings. That's what the Buddha's practice is. And this transformation of beings, that's the Buddha's practice. The Buddha's practice of virtue is the liberation and edification of others. That's what the Buddha is inwardly working on in her meditation, or in its meditation. And beings transformed, that is the inner meditation of Buddha. And this is hard to understand and hard to believe. Within the Buddha, within the Buddha mind, are the guided


and the guided. Within the mind of living beings, there is the guide and the guided. In the mind of the guide, there is the work of mysterious transformation, mysterious communication. In the mind of the guided, it's the same. And our karma is the place to build a sanctuary for contemplating this intimate communication and transmitting it. Transmitting it by contemplating


it, and contemplating it by transmitting it. Contemplating the transformation of others as our inner meditation. And contemplating our inner meditation as transforming others. There is the verbal expression which I now give you, which is, there are so many things to talk about. And each one of these things is a good place to build a sanctuary.


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


Thank you. This may be seen as an advertisement, but, please excuse me, to mention that I'm offering a class in Berkeley, and the title is, Zen Meditation, Transforming the World. I think I heard Suzuki Roshi say something about, something like, we want to extend our Zazen practice outside the Zendo. That's one way I think I heard him speak.


Extend our Zazen practice into daily life. I didn't hear him say, he might have said it. The purpose is to extend our Zazen into the transformation of the world, which is the transformation of our daily life. To use our karma as the place of transformation, and to use our karma as the performance of the transformation. And not just the transformation of our karma, not just changing the way I talk, but using the way I talk as the transformation of others. Almost like there's no other transformation of others, no other transformation of others


than the way I talk. Usually you think, well, there's me talking and then others are transformed. Like, my talking lives by itself, other than you being transformed by my talk. Does that the usual way? I'm talking and then you are transformed, rather than my talking is your transformation and your transformation is my talking. The way you're changing right now is what I'm doing. That's hard to understand, isn't it? It's a little hard to talk that


way too. I told this story several times. One time, Kadagiri Rishi was giving a talk at the San Francisco Zen Center, and he often, when he talked, he seemed to be having a hard time talking. His verbal karma seemed to be difficult for him. He would sometimes hit himself in the forehead while he was talking, because he was trying to say something, but it wasn't quite what he meant. He'd whack himself in the forehead. Occasionally he would laugh. Kadagiri Rishi didn't seem to have such a hard time. He didn't hit himself while


he was talking. Anyway, Kadagiri Rishi struggled to speak English. He could hear quite well, because he had two boys who were like virtually native speakers of English, because they grew up in America. So he would hear them talking all the time and he could understand quite well the complex, high-speed utterances of his boys. But when he spoke the teaching, he sometimes had a hard time articulating some of the complex teachings he wanted to share. Anyway, one time he was struggling away, giving a talk, and I was listening. I could hear it and it was, as usual, fairly interesting to me. I wasn't bored. While he was talking, I started to hear something else at the same time, but it was inaudible.


And I kind of wondered, what is this other thing I'm hearing while he's talking? And then I could hear something in my own mind which was a hypothesis about what I was hearing. I thought, maybe what I'm hearing is the Dharma. It was one of the first times, well, I think I heard inaudible things before, but one of the first times during a Dharma talk when I heard this inaudible message. And part of the reason I thought it was Dharma was because I felt somehow transformed by it. I felt like I was being transformed, not by his words, but by something else. And simultaneously, I wasn't giving a talk, so I wasn't talking,


right? But I was doing another kind of karma called thinking. So right while I was doing the karma of listening and doing the karma of thinking, right in the middle of the karma I was being transformed. And I was thinking about the transformation, and if I look around my life, I can probably find an ever-increasing number of examples of where I think I'm looking at something, where I see something visible, and I'm seeing something invisible at the same time. For example, I'm seeing your faces, and I'm seeing something that is entirely different


from your face at the same time, but it's really different from ordinary visible things. I'm seeing something which is really otherwise than seeing something, and I'm seeing it otherwise. And now another karma has arisen, and again, I accept responsibility for this karma, and the karma that arose was a thought, and the thought was, that's probably enough talk for you. It's a thought that arose that I'm telling you about. So it was a mental action, and then it got turned into a physical action of speech. And I mentioned to you that I accept responsibility for this thought, but I don't think I did the thought. I wasn't sitting


there, okay, now think that you've talked enough. That thought arose, and I accept responsibility for it, but I really don't feel like I made that thought arise. And now a question arose, which again, I accept responsibility for this question, but I don't think I made it come up. But it did come up, and it's in my mind, and now I'm going to tell you what the question is. The question is, who made the thought come up? Who made this question come up? Who's responsible for the questions that are arising in my mind? And then now I'm speaking out loud. Who's responsible? That's a question you can answer. I already answered inside, but I'm not telling her yet. Well, since nobody's saying anything, yes?


I very badly want to say I am. Okay, yeah, yeah, I agree, you are. I want to say who is not responsible. It's not who, but it's... Well, I think who is responsible. And if you mean it the other way, if you say who is not, I would say, and this is, again, this is hard to understand, and it's scary, but I would say no one is not responsible. No one is not responsible for the thoughts in my mind. Who is responsible? No one is not responsible. Who is responsible? And who accepts responsibility for all my thoughts? And who is also an acronym for World Honored One? It's one of the fortunate things for us, that who is an acronym for our founder.


The World Honored One accepts responsibility for all my thoughts, for all my speech karma, for all my physical gesture. And the World Honored One is transmitting that wholehearted responsibility for my actions to me, so that I will learn to accept responsibility for my actions, but also for everybody else's, like the World Honored One does. Most people have some difficulty accepting responsibility for their own, especially accepting full responsibility for their own actions. And even more people have a hard time accepting responsibility for everybody else's.


So, again, I'm not in control of my thoughts, I think things like, that's enough, I have a question, I think things like that. I'm not in control of my thoughts, but I believe I am responsible, and I wish to be more and more mindful of being responsible for all my actions, and also for all of yours. I wish to be more mindful of that. And I wish to do that as a transformation of all of you. My work on my responsibility for your action is a transformation of you. And if you would become more wholehearted in your accepting responsibility for your actions, and other people's, that would be my meditation. That is my meditation. That's my meditation.


And if you were that way, that's what my meditation is. I mean, you are that way. My meditation is the way you are. And that's hard to understand. So, again, in the full responsibility, the full responsibility is not me being fully responsible, it's me being fully responsible with you. It's the way we're both fully responsible. And you, I mean, all of you. The way we're in our full responsibility, that is the planting of the grass, that is the building of the sanctuary. This is already the case, but we have to perform it.


And performing it means we have to use our performance facilities for that purpose. We have to use this place as the place and these actions as the actions to perform full responsibility, which also includes getting feedback from others through their karma about how we're doing it, because it's possible to take too much responsibility. Like, you know, I'm responsible, but you're not. And of course it's possible to take too little. You're responsible, but I'm not. Or, you know, you're mostly responsible. It's not really, you know, like 80-20 or 50-50. It's more full than that kind of measurement. And that is Buddha's meditation.


That's what Buddha is, that's how Buddha is. It's that full responsibility. And that's where all the expressions of Dharma come up, in that full responsibility. That's where we actually meet the Dharma. Yes, yes? So when you speak about the full responsibility, you're speaking about the karmic energy, the karma, to fully be the karma. Am I correct? Fully be the karma. And meditate on how fully being the karma is the transformation of other beings. So, the fully being karma and the meditation of the fully karma,


there is no karma, you don't see the karma. The karma almost doesn't even exist. So I'm not quite sure. Well, just right there, the karma doesn't really exist. In a way, I agree. Karma doesn't really exist. We use what doesn't really exist to realize what really is. It doesn't really exist, for example, that I think this or I think that. This is just my karma. This is just like the place I'm standing, that I can see. So, yes, my karma doesn't really exist, but I use what doesn't really exist to realize, not what really exists, but to realize what's real. And that's again difficult. How can using what doesn't really exist be the way of realizing reality,


which liberates all beings? That's really hard to understand. But we do have plenty of stuff that doesn't really exist. That we've got plenty of. All of our karma, everything that appears, these are all good opportunities. And to use them, and again, but to use them not just like I'm using them, but to use them in a face-to-face relationship. To use this skillfully, virtuously, together in a relationship with somebody who is fully responsible, which is everybody, the way they really are. And the way they really are is watching us struggle to find our full responsibility. And seeing that we are, even while we're struggling to find our full responsibility, we are actually the same as the fully responsible ones, the Buddhas.


I keep going back and forth. The way you really are, does your not? No, no, no. Well, the way you really are, you're not. And also you are. You are the way you really are. But the way to realize the way you really are, you use the way you really aren't. The way to realize how you really are, which is how you really are, is you use the way you really aren't. The way you really aren't is you really aren't just here, like this. But you use the way you appear to be, and you use the karma you seem to be doing, you use that. And also you use it in a relationship with others, in full responsibility. That's how you realize the way you really are. Yes?


A couple of days ago, I was very preoccupied the entire day with the tasks I had on hand. Kind of like Katagiri Roshi trying to give a talk in English. Kind of like what? When you said that, I thought, oh, Katagiri Roshi also, he was trying to give a talk in English, you know, like trying to speak this foreign language and talk about really difficult topics. He was really occupied with his task of giving a talk. And you were kind of like that with your task. I was. But throughout the day, throughout several hours, something was nudging me. Something was nudging you, that's right. It was a very strong distraction. It was to call my accountant. You thought it was your accountant, but actually it was Buddha. Anyway, so I called.


I picked up the cell phone and I called. And I always call his office, but I called his cell phone and a woman answered. And I was shocked because I was not expecting a woman answering the phone. And I apologized for calling, because then I realized I'd called his cell phone. And I said, I'm sorry, I wanted to talk to Tom. And she said, he passed away. Wow. And ever since, and I was taken aback, because number one, I got this nudge about this question that I had for him. And number two, I called not his office number, but his cell phone. So when you said, who's responsible for the question arising in my mind,


there's a part of me that thought, well, do the departed ones put the thought in your mind too? Uh-huh. They do. They do? Well, is Suzuki Roshi putting the thoughts of Suzuki Roshi in my mind? Is he responsible for putting the thoughts of him in me? You know, he came to America and then there he was. Is he responsible for the fact that I have ideas of him? Partially. Huh? He's partially. Yeah, he's partially responsible. You know, he went to San Francisco, and then he walked around a meditation hall so I could see his feet. And then I left the meditation hall and he bowed to me. Is he responsible for me having the idea of, oh, there's a Japanese priest. Is he responsible? Huh? Yes, partially.


Is he? Well, but he was alive at the time. I know, I know, I know. Am I responsible for that I have the thought that I'm leading up to something? Am I responsible? Yeah, I am. Are you? Yeah, you are. You are. And what am I leading up to is that he's so-called dead now, right? We say sometimes, Sukarishi has passed away. Is he like, you know, not responsible anymore? I mean, is he not partially responsible? Or now he went from partially to fully. Is fully partially? Well, yeah, it could be. Could you be partially, could you be fully partially? Can you be responsible after you're dead? A lot of people right now are really concerned for their post-mortem responsibilities. It's a very common thing for people in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.


They're concerned about their post-mortem responsibilities. They're concerned about their children and grandchildren. It's not like, well, after I'm dead I won't be responsible. Some people think that, actually. I won't be responsible, I'm out of here. Some people feel responsibility beyond the funeral ceremonies. The funeral ceremonies are not about, like, okay, responsibility has ended. So, yeah, Suzuki Roshi is still nudging some of us. Your accountant is still nudging you. Your accountant is saying, Jackie, take care of your business affairs. Let's be diligent, let's be careful, let's be conscientious in your work. Let's make your work virtuous, your accountant is like, yes, beyond death there is responsibility.


And before birth there is responsibility. So we ask people in Zen, what was your face before you were born? It's irrelevant. Somehow the ancestors thought that was a relevant question, to go check out who you were before you were born and what was your responsibility to who you were before you were born. And how is it that who you were before you were born will be the place where you'll find full responsibility? So many ancestors, in their early part of their practice, they had a very limited sense of responsibility. And so the teacher said, would you please stop talking to me from here and talk to me from before you were born, would you please? And they said, well, how am I going to do that?


Well, that's more talk from here. But they could have said, okay, right now I am talking to you from before I was born. I'm using this talk as the opportunity. But it took a while for them to get there. Because they had this habit of not being willing to use this karma, which doesn't really exist, as the performance of what does, of what's real. Which is like, this is the Dharma. It's real. But we need to use what isn't real to reveal it. And we've got plenty of what isn't real. You know, like our ideas of each other. We just carefully, respectfully say, well, that's not real.


Now we say, but use that. Open that up with virtue. Because that's how we're going to perform the real. And that's hard to understand. Practicing virtue with the unreal is not so difficult to understand, although it's pretty difficult. And even when you understand it, it's hard to remember. Yeah? It's very clear for me, at least I think it's clear. Our love is here to stay. Not for a day, but ever. Yes? It's very clear. Before being born, it's purely intelligence. Purely intelligence. No, that's very clear, but what you're talking about is not from what, your expression is not from before you were born.


Your expression is from after you were born. Me too. Hmm? Me too. That I don't know, maybe that was from after you were born, I'm not sure. But my case is that your talk about before you were born is coming from after you were born. I want to hear, by the way, you get this assignment now too, congratulations. Please say something from before you were born. Okay? Yes? Is it true that you told us a story that you saw Suzuki's feet and thought, these are good feet to teach me? Or something like that. Yeah, it is true that I told that story. I wasn't sure if I made it up in my head, I wanted to reconfirm.


I made it up in your head. And you made me up in your head, telling you. Yeah, yeah. I thought, I said, these feet can teach me Zen. The first thing I saw of him was his feet. And do I think he is responsible for his feet? I do. I thought he was responsible for those feet and I thought he was fulfilling his responsibility very nicely. They were like clean and the toenails were, I don't know how he got them to be even, like those Buddha statues. But anyway, I thought, these feet can teach me Zen. And then I thought, maybe later I'll see the face and I'll think the face can. And actually I did see the face, like half an hour later, face to face I saw it. And after I saw it, I thought, I think this person would be a good teacher.


And I understood as much about his face as I understood about his feet. Usually we don't look at feet and say, how mysterious, right? I didn't think that when I saw the feet. I didn't think, how mysterious, these feet can teach me Zen. But now, today I think, how mysterious that I would think such a thought, that feet could teach me Zen. When we meet the Zen teacher's face and we think, how mysterious, that's quite common, right? Mysterious Zen teacher's face. Mysterious Zen student's face. But mysterious feet? Wait a minute. Zen teacher's face can teach Zen, right? Zen teacher's face can make it more difficult to learn Zen, right? Oh yeah. Zen student's face can make it more difficult, right?


Why don't those faces all smile? Why aren't they all concentrated? It's very mysterious. But the feet, yeah, there is that story. Being told. Yes? So, I struggled greatly to learn the Dharma. My question is, can I learn the Dharma from someone who is not interested? Yeah, well, can you learn it from them? You can learn it, definitely you can learn it with them. I don't know if it's exactly from them, because even if you met someone who, did you say wasn't interested? Yeah. If you meet some people who are really interested, you don't exactly learn the Dharma from them. All that you learn the Dharma with them.


And yes, you can learn the Dharma with anybody. Even people who say, I'm not interested, you can learn the Dharma with such people. Yes. And those people, I'm suggesting, are actually practicing the Dharma in the way of not being interested in the Dharma. That's the way they are practicing it. They will be Buddha. They will eventually realize this intimate communication. And you can also learn the Dharma with people who are really interested in it. And a lot of people are trying to learn the Dharma with or from people who are really interested in it. Like they go places like here, where there are some people who are really interested in the Dharma, to learn about the Dharma. So that's fine.


But if we could have another center in Mill Valley, which is set up as, this is a place for people who are not interested in Dharma to come and learn it. Or this is a place that a lot of people aren't interested in it, and those who are interested can go meet those people. So if we could have another place for that purpose. And we could call it, I don't know what... Abode. Yeah, Abode. We call it Abode. Yes. So, back to the story. When they are walking, it's Indra who plucks the grass, is it? Yes. But that's after the Buddha points to the ground. I don't know, because to me it just seems so literal. I don't know, maybe it's a misunderstanding. When I first was taught the Zen, Indra, because I was taught that a blade of grass,


it's like you have a blade of grass between your thumbs, and it should never be bruised. But you're constantly aware of that. Yes. And to me, it seems like it's such a sort of direct story, saying, yeah, we're all walking with the Buddha all the time. Yes. But until the moment of pointing, we don't have a way to relate to that, or whatever. And Buddha isn't going to pick the grass, it has to be Indra, who's the king of the gods. But that's our seal together, that every time anyone sits with a blade of grass between their thumbs, we all enter the stream. Well, saying what you just said, is, first of all, like pointing to the ground.


You said, wherever you are, whatever you're doing, yes, that's pointing to the ground. Now, use wherever you are as the building of the sanctuary. And it always has to be something beyond words, because... No, no, it has to be words. Oh, what? You have to say it all the time. You have to use words, or use hand gestures, to build the sanctuary to the real, or for the real. The refuge of the real is built by using the unreal. But not just any old unreal, an unreal that's being offered as a way to realize the real. It's not like we don't use cruelty. The Buddha did not teach, well, let's use some cruelty here to realize, to build a sanctuary. To hold someone's raw heart in your hand.


Let's use these words like, we're going to use this, right? Ready? This is a good place to build a sanctuary. That's something that doesn't exist. We're going to use that. Now, okay, now we're going to use my fingers to plant this grass. Now I'm going to try to do some sanctuary building. And some people think, well, what happened? Did they ask permission from that blade of grass before putting it in the ground? Some people are really upset about that part. But anyway, we're using something that's been set up provisionally as an opportunity to show the real. And any situation can be done for that purpose. That teaching right there is a provisional teaching. And now we're going to do this other provisional teaching. And then this story is a provisional teaching. And we're going to use it. But all the other stories we could use for the same. This story is saying you can use all the other stories in a similar way.


Okay. Were you looking around to see if anybody else wanted to ask a question? And you didn't find anybody? So you raised your hand. Yes. I have a question about the ground. Okay. Because it made me think of something that I often think. Whenever I think I know what Zen is, it always changes. So, it seems like the ground is always changing. Yes, the ground is unstable. So, declaring that this is a sanctuary is not permanent. It's not permanent, no. It's something that is a process that can be repeated over and over. It's not just one time. Yes, it would be something we would repeat with the next karma. And the next karma. And the next karma. Just like I'm talking over and over and over again.


Basically saying the same thing. Which is, the sanctuary is built. Provisionally. Provisionally. I keep thinking of something Chögyam Trungpa said. And I'm going to mess it up because I'm nervous speaking. So if someone remembers it, please help me. It's about talking about groundlessness. Yes? Do you remember the quote? No, I don't know, because he used that term a lot. He's talking about the fear of falling. And it's okay because actually there is no ground. I know the quote. He's talking about being thrown out of an airplane. I can't remember which one.


I think it's something like, the bad news is that you've been thrown out of an airplane with no parachute. But the good news is that there's no ground. So yeah, I guess the ground feels groundless. And I'm not really sure what to do with it. That's what's good about it. I know. You're not sure what to do with that? Well, that is, what do you call it? Those words are a ground. And so you can build a sanctuary in those words. Those unreal, those words which don't really exist, those are good places to build sanctuaries. And then by building sanctuaries in words that don't really exist, we realize the truth of groundlessness.


The reality which is groundless. Thank you. Yes. Yes. Yes. You feel moved, ethically you say, but also you feel, you said ethically moved, but also you feel moved to ethics. For the world. Yes. Yes. Yes.


Yes. [...] Okay. and so as much as I appreciate the story about the airplane, there is a ground, and I will hit that ground, even if I die. Yeah, and the first story we told today is saying that the ground is the place to build a sanctuary. You don't build a sanctuary in groundlessness. Groundlessness doesn't,


you can't build a sanctuary in groundlessness. We build a sanctuary to groundlessness on the ground. You wouldn't need a sanctuary if you were in a situation of groundlessness. You do, because other people need it. But then if you were in a situation... If you don't need it, the people who don't need it, their meditation is the transformation of the people who do need it. Some people think the Buddha has this nice situation. Well, their nice situation is that other people are liberated from their fear of groundlessness. That's the Buddha's realization of groundlessness. So, the Buddha says, let's build sanctuaries. But while the Buddha says that, the Buddha realizes that the words that are being said,


there's no basis for these words to be apprehended. And the Buddha uses words which cannot be apprehended as a way to realize that they can't be apprehended. And then one of the students understands and demonstrates the understanding by building a sanctuary, which gives opportunities for other kinds of ground to build other sanctuaries. Like once you build a sanctuary, then you have the problems of taking care of the sanctuary, which are more grounds for building more sanctuaries. Or you could also say, more trouble. So when they're walking, actually Buddha could not have pointed to the ground unless


he had been walking with Indra and the king of the gods? That's right. Because if there was no group, there would be no Buddha, and if there was no Buddha, there would be no group. But there was a Buddha, which is nothing but the group, and the group then, through the Buddha, points to the ground. And then again, in the group, there's a response to the Buddha's pointing, which is this planting, and then there's a response to the planting, which is a smile. So this mysterious transformation was going on before and through every moment of this story, and beyond. And we're in the beyond part. We're in the carrying on the mysterious transformation of that story, and checking out that we have sometimes some confusion about how what we're doing is transforming


other beings. How the transformation of other beings is what we're doing. We sometimes feel like they're two different things. Again, people think, well, there's Buddha, and then that's the Buddha, who's got this understanding, and then there's the other beings, who are to be transformed. But there's no Buddha if there's not the beings transformed. When the beings aren't being transformed, there's no Buddha. There's not only no Buddha without living beings, but there's no Buddha without the living beings being transformed. If the Buddha was with the living beings and they weren't being transformed, you would just have living beings. There would be no Buddha. But because you have Buddha with living beings, living beings are being transformed, which is what the Buddha is. And then the Buddha says, well, now it would be good to build some sanctuaries.


Yes? I was wondering if cruelty is being transformed by interactions that we have with each other. Yeah, the cruelty is a sentient being, and the Buddha's provisional activity, and also the Buddha's real activity, is the transformation of that cruelty, which is a living being. That cruelty is a living being. Hatred is a living being. And there's no Buddhas aside from that living being which is hatred. And none of us are here aside from that living being that's hatred. We're the same. We're the same as these other living beings because we include them.


We include these other living beings, and they include us. And that's our groundlessness. And so we're responsible for the cruelty? Pardon? We're responsible for the cruelty? I'm responsible for all cruelty, yes. And everybody else is too. And again, that's difficult to understand. But again, fully doesn't mean that I'm the only one who is. The fullness is the appropriate relational responsibility. I can respond to all cruelty, and I do. All cruelty is a response to me.


How is it a response to you, for example, the bombing that occurred in Turkey today, and 40 people were killed? I don't know how it is. I don't know how it all works. I don't. But you still believe that you're responsible for that? I believe it, and I wish to understand it. I aspire to understand it by believing it. Would you turn yourself to the police? Pardon? Would you turn yourself to the police? Would I turn myself to the police? I haven't thought of that. But somebody else might turn me in. That might happen. And somebody might bomb me, if I express myself.


It might happen. And as I'm being bombed, I aspire to accept responsibility. Fully, which means with others. Not being arrogant about it. Not being possessive of it. But more like being responsive to it. That's what I aspire to. And in that way, in that meeting, the Dharma will be alive. That's what I want. But I know it's very difficult to understand and believe. Yes? So is that like the scale of confession? Like in the sutra we just chanted, confessing and repenting.


Is that like the scale of it? Scale? Of our culpability to the cruelty that's happening in society and the world? That's not really a scale. That's open to that it's measureless, immeasurable. That's like what you just said. It's like recognizing the immeasurable side of our karma. And then there's also a measurable kind. In other words, I just measured what I did as impatient. I just had this impatient thought in my mind. So I could measure that one. So there's measurable, which I can measurably acknowledge. And then there's immeasurable. And as I confess immeasurably, I sometimes think of measurable ones.


And then the measurable ones, I can work with them in a measurable way. I can say them. And I can say them in a relationship with somebody who feels responsibility for me. So it's recommended that once you see both immeasurable and measurable confession, that you do that in a relationship with somebody who feels in a relationship to you already. Who's already looking at you, struggling to understand this bodhisattva path. And also they're seeing you struggle. And they also see you as themselves. They're not wishing you would stop being the way you are. Any different than they're wishing that they would stop being what they are. Because they are you. And you are struggling with your karma.


Measurable and immeasurable. So in the early days of Zen Center, we did not practice formal confession and repentance. But people did informally, I should say, people did specifically, measurably, sometimes go to the teacher and say, I did such and such. And teachers sometimes did ask people about certain specific karmas. But we didn't, as a group, do confession and repentance for quite a few years. And I think, I don't know if Suzuki Roshi brought it up, and then the next day nobody was in the Zen Do. I don't know if he did. It would be really interesting to ask him, did you bring this up earlier and decide maybe we weren't ready for it? And he might have said, yeah, I did bring it up,


and I felt like people just couldn't, they got all this because of their Western religious background, they were too reactive to do the practice. So I didn't mention it. But then, towards the last short period of his life, he started to bring it up again, but very little. And then I also mentioned to people, a few years after Suzuki Roshi died, Katagiri Roshi said to me, I'm becoming more and more impressed of how important confession and repentance is to Dogen Zenji. Even he, in the later part of his life, had not really understood that confession and repentance was a big issue for Dogen. If you look in Dogen's massive writings, you don't find that much discussion of confession and repentance. That's part of the reason I have his chant this, that in this vow, he's very keen on confession and repentance.


And this is not specific, right? This is immeasurable. Was this vow part of a larger piece of writing? One place it's found is in a text called The Sound of the Streams and the Color of the Mountains. And the word of the mountains? The Sound of the Valley Streams and the Color of the Mountains. There's a fascicle by that name. And in the later part of that fascicle, you can find most of these parts, not all together in one piece, but kind of broken up. And then it was, I think, excerpted and put together into one piece, called The Arousing of the Vow of the High Priest of Eheji. And there's another name of it. It's in the regular Soto Shu liturgy book, like this.


But I don't know if he wrote it especially just like this someplace, other than in that text. There may be a Dogen excerpt, but I don't know that. And then the other vow, Tori Zenji's vow, is also... He doesn't say confession and repentance, but sort of does. He speaks of his evil karma. But he doesn't so much strongly emphasize the power of the practice of confession and repentance in relationship to those who totally support us to do that practice and who share the responsibility with us. Buddha does not say,


that's your responsibility, separate from me. So it's so much fun to tell children, you did it! When they have some great accomplishment. They seem to love for us to tell them when they do some great feat. You did it! And so we say that. And if I say to my granddaughter, we did it, she says, no, I did it. It's too late for me to...


But I still can say it and she can say, no, I did it. And then after I passed away, she said, he always used to say, we did it. What was he talking about? I wonder what he was talking about. Mommy, what was granddaddy talking about when he said, we did it? And she said, I don't know. He's a strange granddaddy. Yes? There's a clip on Amazon, that accompanies one of Suzuki Roshi's writings, where either the translator or the student says, that they've gone with Suzuki Roshi to Yosemite, to show him the waterfalls. And I don't know, because it's on Amazon, so you can check it out. But it's just so stuck with me, because his reaction to the waterfalls, to the student, really signified how he looked at the world. And that was, he was so sad for the water, he said he was very sad for all the drops around the waterfall,


because they weren't part of the beautiful stream. And he had, you know, I'm not really giving it justice, but you can find it on Amazon. It's just that it was framed as that everything he saw, he saw from the point of view of compassion, for the non-stream joiners. And in Tibetan, the stream joiner means Buddha, he said. So it's just, it's a beautiful, and it could be completely wrong, maybe you know, maybe you were there, maybe you never said those things, but it's very beautiful. Yeah, well those things are, those things are things that don't exist. But we can use them, we can use them. And really they're all we have. And they are sufficient. They are what we have, and they are sufficient.


We can use them. And I think, I don't know, he did sometimes say, you know, there are some things that we have that are kind of special, some really great provisional teachings that we have. But he kind of liked something, you know, more ordinary things, like rocks. He liked to use rocks to build sanctuaries, rather than very complex, eloquent verbal and intellectual expressions. But, you know, kind of secretly he did study those things. And when I studied them, he encouraged me.


But I think he's trying to emphasize, he really did like to use rocks, and he also tried to emphasize that it wasn't just those lofty teachings, which also don't exist, that we should use to realize what is real. So the Buddha said some really amazing things, which are all like don't exist, really, to help people realize what's real. But also the Buddha said some not so lofty things, for the same purpose. And Suzuki Roshi also said some not very lofty things, for the purpose of realizing the real. Like, move that rock, and move that rock back, and put the broom with the head up, the head with the straw up,


rather than down. That practice is in jeopardy. So I go around and take the brooms and put them back up like this, in various locations. Yes? I'm thanking you for all the teachings, and all that you do for us. I need you quite a bit. I wanted to also thank Aileen for all that she does to keep up this temple. Yes. Thank you so much, Aileen. Thank you. And thank you, the parking attendants. Thank you. I know that can be a difficult job.


It's not so difficult? Okay. And thank you, Lenya, for taking care of so many things here, too. And thank you, all of you, for taking care of this sanctuary, and to rebuild it again and again, because it's unstable, impermanent, not worthy of confidence. But it is worthy of practicing virtue with it, and using it as a place to transform all beings. So should we set things up and sit for a little bit? Just sit for a little bit? After we chant? Let's chant. 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 unsurpassable. I vow to become it.