Buddhas Turn the Wheel of Dharma in the Midst of Fierce Flames
How to be with the fire that surrounds us; Buddha sitting upright, clearly observing, accepting all suffering; watching our fears about not being able to control things.
We are keenly aware that we are surrounded by great fierce fire and smoke And great floods of water, great wind. Earthquakes. The earth is heaving up and throwing living beings all over the place and showers of metal falling on fragile human bodies surrounded by are surrounded by fear and hatred also. So we are only literally and metaphorically surrounded by fire, Water and Earth and great upheaval and turmoil and all kinds of difficult emotions swirling around us. And we have a practice which we sometimes call the precious mirror samadhi. This is a practice which has been transmitted to us for times like this. It's a teaching about the way things and it's an intimate transmission. And it says that concerning the way things are. And doesn't and also the way things are is that they often appear in a false way in a way that's very challenging the way things are. We are too we are taught to not touch or turn away from. One translation turning away and touching are both off. Because this is like a massive fire the way things are so like a massive fire you know we have the fire we have the. Turning away and touching are both not to the point. The point of the reality. Of the situation. Trying to control or being simply submitting or both off. This is instructions about how to be with the fire. And this way of being with it. Brings great benefits it relieves all suffer it doesn't make the fire go away or the flood stop and there will be more fires then more floods and more earthquakes and more intense wind this is a way meeting this turbulent world in a way that brings peace. Now we're gathered together in this space here where we. We can feel. Peace and gratitude that we can be here together meeting each other and supporting each other but here too turning away or touching our are not appropriate here to trying to control what's going on or power simply submitting to what is not the right way to live and the somebody of the bored us with some audio is fully accept all this suffering. It is the Buddhists the Mahdi it is peaceful it is free. And it only accepts the omnipresence of suffering in the first case of the book of serenity it says that the World Honored One. Ascended this seat. In ancient times of war over. The World honored want to ascend to the seat and sat. I would say he sat upright. He completely accepted and fully accepted all suffering. He didn't turn away from my heart touch it he met it face to face and had intimate communication with also for he did not eliminate the suffering he met it face to face in silence and stillness. This is my commentary. The case says the World Honored One ascended the seat that's all it says I'm saying this is how I imagine him sitting on the seat sitting on the seat including all suffering fully accepting it meeting it wholeheartedly face to face and realizing liberation realizing it and suffering without eliminating it he did all this without moving or saying anything so his great disciple muncher Sri. Struck the gavel and said clearly observe. Now this clearly observed could be understood as would you please look at the teacher and see what the teacher is doing in the middle of these flames of suffering. Look at the teacher and see how the teacher fully accepts all these flames, look at the teacher and see how the teacher accepts all the suffering but he didn't say it he said clearly observe. The teaching of the teacher of the truth clearly observe the teaching of the teacher of truth the teaching of the teacher of truth is the US and the World Honored One got down from the seat. The World Order one already demonstrated the teaching of such and as by sitting there but my dear she may be thought. Maybe they're not getting it so I tell him please look and see what his teaching for this world of suffering is see how she completely accepts all suffering see how she includes all suffering see how that's her teaching see how she doesn't touch it or control it or turn away from it see how she is upright and see how she clearly observes all suffering now I tell you I mind you should tell you to clearly observe how the Buddha is clearly observing how the Buddha is listening to ALL suffering and looking at all suffering. But he could also hear at that moment or she is telling us what to do don't look at the Buddha. And see how the Buddha is clearly observing you clearly observe you clearly observe the teaching of the Buddha's in this time of fire and flood and hatred you clearly observe the teaching of the Buddha's is thus. That's the case the first case of the book of all this and stories that's the one. All these stories are stories about people who are. In the midst of fire and who met the fire and tried to find a way to clearly observe it like the Buddha's and realize peace in the middle of the fires. All Buddhas sit still and upright in the midst of fierce flames that's where they turn the wheel of the Dharma. Now everybody can see the flames, they're always sitting in the middle of the flames. They support all the people who are running away they support all the people who are trying to control they support the people who are afraid they support and include all beings and they do that wholeheartedly with their whole great compassion they observed and listened to the cries in the world of fierce flames and there they turned the wheel of dharma. There's a verse after the case and the verse says in English the unique breeds of reality can you see it we see the fire we see the hatred we see the floods. We see the death we see the birth we see the wind we hear the wind we feel the wind we feel the earth trembling all these things we can see. But there is a unique breeze also going on with all these tumultuous and Awesome events there is a unique breed. And the Blues are observing it and saving all beings and including all suffering. Can you see it. The way to see it is to sit upright in the midst of the flames which is where we are we are in the midst of the flames now to set up right in the midst to listen to the cries of all beings including our own cries. To include all the sadness and grief of all beings and our own sadness and grief. Including all that sitting upright and thus being able to hear and see the teaching of the. Unique breeze of reality the seeing which liberates beings in the middle of the flames the Buddhas do not get rid of the flames they are sitting in the middle of them turning the wheel and those who listen to the turning are liberated also with the Buddhas in the midst of the fire. If somebody puts out the fires in Northern California I will be so relieved and it will be so nice to have clear air again. But even though this northern California air may be clear over in China and Beijing a normal day is worse than this. Now we can't see Fontana clearly every day almost every day they can't see their skyscrapers. So even though we'll have clean air again when I came back from Beijing I flew out of Beijing looking down I couldn't see the city and I come back to the Bay area so clear we're so fortunate it's wonderful but even if our air clears up there are still will be bad and even if they're against bad the smoke and flames will not stop they're not going to stop. And the Buddhas are not going to get rid of them the boarders are not getting rid of the flames they're not getting rid of the floods they're not getting rid of the tornadoes and the hurricanes and the earthquakes they're not controlling the universe they're showing a way to sit in the middle of it and turn. Or join the turning of the Dharma wheel they're showing a way to have peace in the middle of fierce flames and they sit there. As one point goes on there above their eyebrows there's a little bit of coolness. The verse says the unique breeze of reality can you see it if you practice this way you will see this breeze and that will benefit all beings without you going out in the flames and without them coming in there in the flames with us if we see this unique breeze of reality we are realizing the Buddha's wisdom but still the suffering is here we're not getting rid of it we're just totally fully accepted. In this practice which we can aspire to and give a try and it's hard the verse goes on the unique breeze of reality can you see it creation literally the mother principle. Constantly working her luminous Shaaban incorporating the patterns of spring. Into the ancient brocade but nothing can be done about munchers recently. One Jewish tree. Didn't just leave the Buddha's teaching alone he had he said These people don't get it I got to say something but Jewish re a little bit slipped on that one he wanted to he couldn't stand that we didn't get it. The Buddha gave the teaching someone just say Would you please look people did you get their art. Somebody has to do that and so he did it he told us just there's a teaching going on here Oh thank you OK Oh now we get it thank you. The mother principle takes the new thread the new pattern of spring. The pattern of know and weaves it into the brocade the pattern up to days fires to days floods to days suffering this is our thread today or this moment each moment is a new thread of suffering to accept and weave into the ancient brocade of the practice when we see the truth it helps us except this is the next thread for us to use. This is the new thread the fresh thread of suffering to use to weave into. The beautiful brocade and. The history of our practice which keeps including the latest suffering into. The Buddha way. But there's no end to thread and hopefully they'll be no end to including the fresh new spring time thread. Of this suffering this suffering this suffering to fully accept. Suffering. In the chat we we do at the beginning we say that by revealing and disclosing our lack of faith and practice or lack of faith in the practice before the Buddhas we melt away the root of transgression from the practice by the power of confessing. That we did not have faith to use this moment as an opportunity to clearly observe we got distracted we transgressed from using this current suffering as an opportunity for compassion this suffering as an opportunity to listen to it and to observe it we got distracted I'm sorry by this process of noting we get distracted from clearly observing we will melt away the root of getting distracted from clearly observing it is possible to become steady and clearly observing but that doesn't mean that there's no suffering we're clearly observing we're not turning away from it we're not touching it but it keeps coming and we get we can get better and better at not getting distracted from accepting. But it's not like there's not going to be any. We're going to limit what the suffering on the causes of suffering we're just going to learn how to be more present with it by noticing one or not and then trying again and sometimes succeeding but we get distracted I got distracted I'm sorry. Back to work and so on so there is a possibility the practice getting more vigorous more vital without eliminating what it's for so these teachings of. These teachings are given to us intimately. By those who are fully awake and who completely include suffering that are transmitted to us we receive these precepts the practice then sometimes we aspire to practice them and then we get distracted but if we notice it. And confess it and feel sorry before the Buddha is that not so where the route of getting distracted this is the pure and simple color of true practice this is the true mind of faith the true body of. To receive these teachings aspire to practice them try to practice them and sometimes succeed and we fail we have a practice to deal with the failure and the practice of how to deal with the failure is an exact transmission of a verified Buddha and there's been a request for a well being ceremony for one of our community members who has just been. Diagnosed with a very serious disease and we will chant for her. And then a later request was for two other friends or one of our members or in the hospital with burns and the chant we do praying for their well being the chant we do is the chant honoring the loci test for. Whose name is the one who. Listens to and observes the cries of the world the one who sit sitting with the Buddha in the flames and her name is listening to all those cries observing all that suffering that's her job so we do a chant where we praise her practice and at the end it says morning and night. Remember her practice moment after moment where number her practice what your practice to listen to the cries of the beings in the flames to observe the cries moment after moment. Syllable after syllable remember listen to the cries of the world observe the cries of the world. And then there is a faith issue as. We are told that this practice of listening to the cries of the world assembles great ocean a blessing. She doesn't she doesn't get rid of the cries she doesn't put out the flames if the flames go out. She observes the flames have gone out. When these flames go out she will observe that these flames have gone out. And that will be very pleasant to see that they're out I know I maybe it won't be pleasant because then they will be asked to observe. So when those cries she observes that when the cry stops she observes that. And this observation this whole hearted observation assembles blessings and happiness in the midst of all the cries this is this is. This is the proclamation. Of the great they are called This is the proclamation of the Lotus Sutra but this observing is not passive submission and it's not active controlling it is being present and upright in the flames it's not running away from them or towards them it's totally being there with all of it. I am trying to do this practice I'm trying to remember clearly observe and when I remember clearly observe I do not regret. Remembering clearly observe I don't do clearly observe. I accept that teaching and let that stand you is my life and every time I give my life to the teaching I'm so. Grateful for the teaching and I'm so grateful for the life. Of clearly observing. It doesn't make the flame go away and yet it's like they go away it doesn't make the turbulent floodwaters go away and yet they seem to calm down there's peace in the middle of all this turbulence and we receive this teaching and let it allow us to receive everything. So is that enough kind of constant people know. Justin and Jackie. Trying to control him trying to control it. Yeah there's a fire like if there's a fire I don't know a board we have hoses and if if if some people take the hoses and turn the water under the water comes out you know if they would ask me. If I put water on this fire I might say you know I think that would be just fine. You know unless there was some oil or something i'm so you know let's let's put that let's put water on the fire in the backyard here. However what that's not my teaching that's just my response at the moment. And that's more fire actually that's more wind you know the conversation. But I probably would say let's let's put water on the fire. The practice is in the middle of the flames with you. Whether you have water or not but when you're putting water on the flames you're still sitting in the middle of the flames. If you give Buddha hose and go to spray water on the flames the Buddha still sitting in the middle of the flames but he doesn't move out of the center of the flames to go put the water on the on the fire so it probably is a good idea if we have any fire flames around here except maybe on the stove. Probably a good idea to use this precious water we have sometimes to put out fire but think up to you practicing being upright are you trying to control when you put the water on earth he just doing what seems like taking the current thread and weaving it into the brocade which is pick up the hole was and put it on. The water or you'd like thinking OK forget that teaching I'm going to touch the fire or I'm going to get away from the fire. Or yeah your or you feel fear like maybe you're not even allowed to put the water maybe you're not on the hose crew you know if we have a you know a hose crew and other people are supposed to leave the hose alone it's not their job still You're watching the fire in your afraid or your own fear of whether they're going to be able to put the fire out that's another flame another flame you're sitting in the middle of and if you sit in the middle of it while they're putting the flame out you're doing the Buddha's work of sitting in the middle of your flames of fear and probably other people also we have fear to maybe seeing you sitting in the middle of your fear and my fear or not. I'm afraid I want to be sitting in the middle of that fear that's where I want to sit and I have been afraid and when I sit in the middle of the fear and clearly observe still afraid but there is peace and not denying the fear and I'm not going away but there's peace and there is compassion for all the other beings who are sitting in the middle of the flames with me and crying out asking for compassion for somebody to tell them how they can practice in the middle of these flames. And if I'm practicing I guess they were like this just you know see how I'm dealing with it and try it and they say but it's hard to say you know if you try it. So far you know when people try they seem to like that yeah this good thanks. Yes. Is that the same as what. If you could really observe the teaching is I think that if you could if you can learn to clearly observe you will see the breeze of reality yes. And the definition of reality. It's seeing what's happening. Is in intimate communion with what doesn't happen or not happen it's seeing the relationship to between the realm of where things happen and don't happen. It's the in the relationship between the world arising and ceasing of birth and death it's seeing how that world is an intimate communion with the world where things don't arise and cease. And seeing the relationship between self. And other. And seeing that relationship. That would that would be included by seeing the relationship between yourself and others you realize that you know severe self. Or the situation but you realize it by saying the way the situation appears and the way the situation appears is in relationship with the relate with the way things don't appear or disappear so the way i the world I see which appears is an. Intimate relationship with in a world that is not appearances but there's no appearances without not appearances. And the not appearances empty the appearance the appearances that relationship is the teaching of such in us and it has a unique quality each moment. And if we're operate with it and really observe we open to it. And we and which means we're open to this communion between herself and other and this is peace in the middle of the flames. Yes. You're welcome. So wanting buoyancy is another flame and sitting in the middle of the flame of wanting buoyancy points he comes to understand wanting buoyancy is is is Wind and Fire. But sitting in the middle and wanting buoyancy why the sea comes. Wanting to be flexible. And I can be a tornado. But sitting in the middle of that desire and fully accepting the desire to be flexible and boy and flexibility in both ends comes alive there. Yes I've been wondering I'm a senior for a while thank you for coming to the meeting. That. You could reach. Along as a bench that you're. Now well. We've got another meeting Thank you. Three and four which morning or afternoon in the afternoon Wow. Let me. Know. If. You. We. Are Really. You know so if we can observe and see the unique breeze of reality which is peace the unique breeze of reality is peace then when the next flame comes we might be able to incorporate that into this vision it's possible. You know and six stories just popped in my head of that you know one of our members here was on the bus. And some maybe in San Francisco or something and in front of him there was a I think a woman and a man and you saw the man's hand going over to the woman's purse and reaching inside and getting a hold of something and then pulling it out. And he put his hand on the man's hand and put the man time back into the purse. And then pulled the man's hand out again and there was no holding on to whatever it was maybe that would go forward and let the man's hand go. So you know when you're clearly observing you can see some stuff. Not to control but just to interact with from that vision from that piece. I hear of this I know I can bring the peace to this. But let's tune in to the peace first we've got the war we've got the fire let's tune into that and from there. See if you can bring the thread into this is your wish and bring the situation into the brocade of peace but if we're not in the center. It's pretty hard to do the work and it's hard to be in the center. Because everything this is a fragile situation constant changing Oh and the story goes on that the bus stopped and the woman got up to leave and the man. I was handing her purse. Was going to follow our AND THIS COMMUNITY MEMBER kind of encouraged the men not to far and I put his head and shoulders something and let her go ahead and then the next stop to go I got off there is an opportunity to. Demonstrate peace but it needs to come from a place. In the midst of all these flames. Like someone's then you know in the midst of flames of racism if you want to. Be Home For you have to be sitting on the seat of love. Sitting on a Buddhist seat clearly observing and you can. Interact with the flames. To demonstrate being in the center of them it's not to get rid of them it's to show how to be upright in the middle of these flames. Of hatred and we do see examples of that up some of the people who are dealing with all this. When fire flood hatred some of the people are doing pretty well being in the middle of it. Demonstrating you know. It's wonderful. You know. You know kneeling down in the middle of it being humble so that we can see what's appropriate. Part of this is like you know not having a fixed idea what the proper response to this big boy inflexible is part of. What we find there in the middle of all this the Buddhas are buoyant and flexible. And so sometimes they don't say anything and sometimes they make a great roar because that's what's been called for. And they're not stuck in being silent or roaring Yes. Well if somebody is house burning down and they're like and they're feeling sorrow and broken hearted us about their house burnt being burned down. Then it's I might also feel sorrow for them. And their and their grieving even though I think they're doing just exactly what Bobby is going to do probably good that they're grieving. It's probably doing them it's probably healing them and helping them move on with rebuilding their house or whatever or helping other people who are also grieving but I also feel. Like I feel when I came back to this nice guy come to me and my eyes started burning and my. You know started burning I was. I been so bothered by about but I was really bothered by the suffering of all the people who were closer to the flames and I was so yeah but I was I was I think I had to do some grieving too I was a little bit. Maybe a little bit clinging to my usual Marin County which has clear areas are going and people's houses are not on fire and people are not feeling tragic loss or even death. I think I was having some adjustment problems with. Sadness helps me now be here in the situation and then maybe with other people who are maybe haven't really arrived yet and I have to grieve more to actually be here and I want to accept how long it takes them to do their grieving once once I've done mine and I'm ready to like being with them to help them do their. And then we then I'll be ready to do what the next it's like that sometimes you have to grieve before you can do in your weaving. Because you you know the patterns that spring sometimes were not ready for them because we're holding on to the patterns of summer. To grieve in order to be ready to like incorporate what's going on now. So if some people are over doing their grieving so then they need help just do the right amount some people are like. Wallowing in it too much. The right amount of grieving is the mom grieving that helps us go back to work to do what we need to do. And we're having trouble going to work because we're holding on to the way things used to be and we're trying to. And that's our life doesn't want that our life wants us to deal with our current pattern of spring. And it's understandable some people say I don't want to do with bring. Somebody stole my summer and I am not going to write for somebody else till my winter I guess Anyway I don't want to deal with spring this is not that I cannot accept what's been taken from me. So we have to grieve in order to night. Except our friendship with me so I've been working on that myself physically for eight months trying to accept my friend Jodi my friend Julie has not gone away I'm still fragile but I'm I'm a little more into it than I was nine months ago and what not being I mean to my friends you know me I was fragile. My whole life but I I became more mindful of my friend Joe during the past eight months. And some There's no some kind of evil part of me. That would like to like not be mindful of my friends do it anymore. I'm done I'm done with fragility I'm like you know I'm like OK now I'm so over but that's that's kind of evil but you know I think I'm nice to that even if they want C'mon now it's come back and so many of you asked me this morning I am and I say fine and fragile or you can reverse it fragile and fine fragile that is what we love. Is calling for a blow. And so I got some fragility for you to love. And you have some for Jodi for me to love. Even if you tell me I am fragile. I thought country western song when I drink a six pack of beer I'm ten feet tall and bulletproof. So some people I'm not proud OK OK OK. Whatever you say but really we're all lovable in our fragility. And we let If we accept our own fragility it's easier for us to let people love us for being a wreck. People don't want to be loved for being a wreck they want to be loved for being. You know beautiful and well built. You're just so kind of and someone muscular. Isn't enough this morning for yes. Yes. You know it's quite a statement. Oh. Yeah. Yeah so. So here is a bunny song for a perfect wisdom. Who does this kind of like in a way defiled thing of telling us what to look at and almost like trying to control us it's almost like he's touching the fire. So part of wisdom is is to you know not hold onto it. And you can't stop the body sought for of compassion from doing a defiled thing of telling us you know what's going on. So I think this that last thing about you know going to wisdom allows itself to go beyond itself and be defiled for our welfare you can't stop the body sought for of great wisdom from being stupid. It's that wisdom will allow. It to manifest as a stupid thing it's going to lie. It's kind of like one of these. It's like you're gone around. It's kind of like. Leaking. Leaking me making like like. Yeah like not being whole the Buddha's whole and I had to sit in there and munge your shoes with the board it being a hole but then they put them under She says I'm not going to be whole on my part I tell people look at the whole. So nothing can be done about it and it can be good you can turn that various ways that you can stop wisdom. From not being attached to wisdom. You can't keep wisdom and the wisdom box. Wisdom is like what ends the outflows with wisdom you don't have outflows you don't you don't try to gain anything and you're not afraid of losing things because you understand that there's no gain or loss like our teacher says so there's no gain or loss and wonder she wants to fight against some people. You know looking at the boat and appreciating this far out teaching. So there's no gain or loss but the. Important stuff is not stuck and not. Yet he's making is going is going beyond I'm going he can until he can. So wisdom goes with not making and also listening wisdom leaps beyond wisdom and use is leaking if it helps people. And. We could just imagine that's Tori without that last line but it was sort of like would be what you call it not full disclosure. You know that we might think you know we might not notice that one measures we did is questionable but questionable doesn't mean bad it just means we are into questioning everything including great body Sophos who are trying to help us by surprising us and then the poem also helps Spike truck by surprising us with that last line. Oh yeah it could be like that you know like you know OK I'm willing to be defiled and go put the fire out with the horse but I'm going to keep my practice going while I put it out. Or I'm I don't even know if I put it on I'm going to put water on it because the Seems like. I want to do that and so that's kind of defiled I'm trying you know trying to put the fire out is kind of defiled rather than I just want something that's completely other than everything I think I don't forget that while I'm putting the fire out. What. And to know if it's OK with you we can conclude this little event also so I just want to say that when you work on your computer or when you water your. Plants or when you put out fires when you do these things and practice clearly observing why you do them then all of these things turn into rituals for an act and what is wisdom is it doesn't mean you don't work on your computer or. Work on your audio projects or work on your construction projects or work on your health care projects or work on your house project just means that when you do them you'll remember the practice clearly observing that all these things are rituals. To an act the vision. Thank you Nick preserve reality and so now we're going to conclude this ritual which we've been doing and we have done another ritual. Well wishing to some people. And no normal people and also specific people and numerable people. And and then we're going to finish that ceremony maybe and then we have a lunch time and then I don't know if we should I work today because I don't know what what the opinion of the areas I'm OK with not having a work and. Because maybe the air is not good to work and so we can have a work meeting and and and maybe that will be hit so come to the work meeting to see if that's going to be work. And be prepared to be a boy. And flexible OK So that's the proposed program. Thank you very much for coming to. The meeting. Did you see it. Bad or. Any of the. Two ever we please really. Read the poem. Is the way he is our number. Is the them. These are. The book. Oh it's too and. Darn good we started down the list. Oh if you enter then. Buddha the other way is unsurpassable. To the common.