Cherry Blossom Bodhisattvas

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AI Summary: 

The talk explores the profound teachings of the cherry blossoms in Japan, highlighting their symbolic representation of beauty, impermanence, and the interconnectedness of all life. As witnessed during a spring visit, the cherry blossoms offer a vivid and collective lesson on the transient nature of existence, cherished and celebrated by diverse crowds. This natural phenomenon is linked to wider Buddhist teachings and practices, particularly emphasizing the Flower Adornment Sutra's impact on Zen Buddhism and daily life. The discussion extends to the practice of Bodhisattva precepts, underscoring their rootedness in the sutra's principles and their application to ethical conduct and spiritual awakening within the Zen tradition.

- **Referenced texts and concepts:**
- The Flower Adornment Sutra (Avatamsaka Sutra): Emphasized for its deep integration into Zen practice and its portrayal of the interconnectedness and interdependence of all phenomena.
- Bodhisattva precepts: Discussed in relation to the teachings of the Avatamsaka Sutra, illustrating how these ethical guidelines contribute to the liberation and enlightenment of practitioners.

The talk also reflects on personal experiences and insights gained from observing cherry blossoms, drawing philosophical connections between natural beauty, Buddhist teachings, and everyday life. This integration of nature's rhythms into spiritual practice serves as a living embodiment of Buddhist sutras, enriching the practitioner's journey towards enlightenment.

AI Suggested Title: "Cherry Blossoms and Zen: Lessons on Impermanence and Interconnectedness"

Transcript: 

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Japan. The trip was supported by a request from my daughter and granddaughter and wife to go. I'd been wanting to go for a long time, but somehow the causes and conditions didn't seem quite there. So I went with these three generations of, may I say, women, And I felt that what was appropriate was to follow their lead, to do what they wanted to do.

[01:10]

Because I'd been to Japan quite a few times and pretty much went to the places I wanted to go to. So I was happy to not visit any of the places that I usually go except one, which was I wanted to go to Susukuro-shi's temple, Rinso-in. I wanted to go there and pay my respects. And it turns out that the Three Generations wanted to go too. So it was great to go there. Otherwise, I just followed their lead and went places I've never gone before. And by coincidence, it seemed, the time we went, which was really kind of like, again, supported by the conditions of the granddaughter's school vacation.

[02:18]

So we went during her spring vacation. We didn't choose to go at that time, which was the Cherry Blossom Festival. the time when the cherry blossoms are coming, reaching their ultimate beauty and fullness and blooming, and then perishing. We did not go in order to witness that yearly extravaganza. But that's when we went. And my first response was, and a lot of other people hearing when I was going said, oh, it's going to be so crowded. So many people are going to be gathering from all over the world and all over Japan to share the cherry blossom teaching.

[03:26]

And so I kind of like, you know, initially thought, oh, yeah, it's going to be so many people. But and there were so many people. But when I actually got there, it was fine to have so many people and so many flowers. It was. Yeah, it was an abundant experience. And when we first came, the cherry blossoms were just starting. We went to Tokyo first, and then we went to Kyoto. By the time we got to Kyoto, they were starting to come quite strongly.

[04:42]

And again, I wasn't thinking, well, let's go look at the cherry blossoms. But it was offered to me an opportunity to go on a walk on the east side of Kyoto, which was a walk that a Japanese philosopher used to walk on every day. And the walk starts at the silver pavilion of the imperial villa called the Silver Pavilion, Gin Kakuchi. That's where the walk starts. And then it goes south along the east side of Kyoto and ends at the Great Zen Monastery called Nanzenji, which means South, Southern Zen Monastery.

[05:54]

So I thought, okay, that sounds nice, to take a walk, and along the walk are cherry trees all the whole way. And also, at the Imperial Villa and also at Nanzenji. And we went when they were just about at their, at their great fullness. It wasn't a sunny day, but it didn't matter. And so we approached the beginning of the walk, and as we approached it, there was really, the street was really packed with people going up to the imperial village, villa. So I requested that we not follow that extremely concentrated mass of people going to the villa.

[06:58]

So we turned south, which was right. which Southern was to the right, rather than going straight up to the villa. And that part of the path also had many people, but it wasn't packed. And it was under the cherry trees. And the people were walking in both directions. I was walking south, and many other people were walking north. So these two lanes of people were passing each other under the cherry trees. And I've thought of this before, but I thought of it again. And again, and again, we see things and they go deeper. We see things, oh yeah, and then we see them, oh yeah, and then we see them, oh yeah, oh yeah.

[08:05]

So, but this is the first time for me, I've never been in Japan when the cherry blossoms were coming. I've heard about them for more than 50 years, I've heard about what they teach. But then it came to me again as I was looking at them, with all these people looking at them. They teach. They teach the oneness of beauty and impermanence. They teach the oneness of beauty, truth, and impermanence. And the people come to witness this beauty and this impermanence.

[09:10]

And the people I saw, they were really, they were adoring, they were worshiping this teaching. They were receiving this teaching from the cherry blossoms and the trees on which the blossoms were blooming. And someone whispered in my ear, and they keep coming back. Every year they come back to us and give us their life, which is beauty and impermanence. And the humans come to receive this gift and receive this teaching together. with love and appreciation and respect.

[10:17]

And during the rest of the year, the humans take care of those trees. They take good care of those trees. Those trees are old. I don't know how old they are, but they're really old. They have huge trunks, but they don't have huge branches. The branches are basically flower ornaments. they prune them to make the branches just, they're just flower ornaments and a powerful trunk to supply and offer this to us. So I really felt the flower adornment scripture being enacted by this wonderful ritual, this wonderful practice of walking among the trees and having them teach us and having us honor them and worship them and respect them and say thank you to them.

[11:30]

So I thought these flowers, they're bodhisattvas. They keep being reborn, and every year they teach millions and millions of people the Dharma. They speak the Dharma in English, in Japanese, in Chinese, Korean, Russian. Swedish, French, Italian, Spanish, all these languages, these people coming from all over the world to enter this communion with these bodhisattvas. Another example of a communion which I've seen many times, many, many, many times, but it just struck me today, was I was crossing my legs here with you, and in the process of crossing my legs, it might not surprise you, I saw my feet.

[13:01]

My bare feet. which I've seen quite a few times before, both walking and also when crossing my feet, my legs. But then I saw that these bare feet that I was crossing, I noticed that the Buddha sitting right near me also had bare feet. and had them crossed. I thought, isn't that interesting that almost always Buddha statues, the Buddhas have bare hands and bare face and bare feet. And also the Bodhisattva standing there has bare hands, bare face and bare feet. I thought, yeah, there's something there about this bare feet.

[14:10]

Like the flowers are not wearing shoes. Not to, I don't want to have you have socks on feel bad, but anyway, there's something about bare feet and Buddhas. it might have something to do with the teaching coming out of the bare face, and the teaching coming out of the bare hands, and the teaching coming out of the bare feet, which in the Avatamsaka Sutra, in the Flower Adornment, there's a great deal of discussion of lights which awaken beings coming out of the feet and the hands and the forehead of the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas. So I'm not trying to talk you into taking your socks off. Just remember that these feet and hands and face you have are going to be involved in emanating a great light at some point, a light which will awaken infinite beings.

[15:28]

just like the cherry blossoms. The light touches them and bounces off them and illuminates innumerable beings. So thank you to the people who live in Japan, who have raised these trees for I don't know how long, but take care of them and in return for the service which is offered to them, they serve us. They make our life more real and beautiful and impermanent. Not more impermanent, they awaken us to the impermanence of our life. And they teach it to us in this really beautiful deeply touching Dharma.

[16:33]

So as many of you know, I have happily committed to spend not necessarily the rest of my life, but maybe the rest of my life. I've committed for at least ten years of giving the Flower Adornment Scripture a, what do you call it, a position of honor in the practice that I'm involved with, all beings. The Flower Adornment Scripture, I'm making this commitment because I feel in my life, I have not given it sufficient worship, sufficient devotion. I have not shared it sufficiently with people.

[17:44]

So I'm trying to bring out this teaching, which I think is good now for it to get more attention, and also to bring out how Intimately, the teaching of this scripture is woven into our particular Zen tradition. And again, to employ this teaching to realize the majesty and depth of our simple practice together, of our simple daily life together, The sutra is telling us what's really going on in our simple daily life. And also our simple daily life is a really good way to understand the sutra. We don't have to be, you know, really, what's the word, intellectual, or analytical, or

[18:48]

philosophical in order to study the scripture. We can study it just simply with bare feet and bare hands and bare face. So I want us to understand that the greatness of Zen is because of the light it has received from this great Mahayana scripture. Not just this one, but other ones too, but this sutra has really made the beauty of Zen blossom. And Zen is a good friend to this sutra and makes this sutra bloom in our practice. The sutra says, in English, now I, together with all living beings and the great earth, realize the Buddha way.

[20:07]

So that's what the sutra says, and that now is always now. It's not then, it's now. The Buddha realizes the Buddha way now, with all living beings and the great earth. And that statement which is in the sutra, is also found in other places, and particularly it's found in the Zen tradition. So recently, and recently, and recently again, I've been looking at and involved in translating a commentary on the Bodhisattva precepts. And in this commentary on the Bodhisattva precepts, it says that the Bodhisattva precepts, particularly the ten, what we call the ten major Bodhisattva precepts, those ten precepts, they are precepts of restraint.

[21:29]

But the restraint in this case, is a restraint informed by the Avatamsaka Sutra. Did you follow that by any chance? So the ten major Bodhisattva precepts of our tradition are called not killing, not stealing, not misusing sexuality, not lying, and not intoxicating mind or body of self or other. Particularly, it's about not intoxicating the body of others, but we added in self just to make sure people knew that that was involved. We being the Americans. Number six, not slandering. Number seven, Not praising self at the expense of others.

[22:39]

Number eight, not being possessive of anything. Number nine, not harboring ill will. Number 10, not disparaging the triple treasure. Those are the 10 major Bodhisattva precepts. And in this commentary it says, these are precepts of restraint. They're also called precepts conducive to awakening. Excuse me, precepts conducive to liberation. So those 10 are called 10 precepts conducive to liberation, and they are precepts of restraint. But again, the restraint is the restraint of the sutra, according to this commentary. And what is the restraint of these sutras, of these precepts?

[23:50]

What is the restraint? It is, now I, together with all beings and the great earth attain the Buddha way. That's the restraint. Sometimes we say something's happening under certain restraints, Well, the practice of the Bodhisattva precepts is also happening under a particular restraint. And what's the restraint? It's the precept of not killing is restrained or, you know, it's restrained by I together with all beings and the great earth attain the Buddha way. That's not, that's the precept of not killing. The precept of not killing is attaining the Buddha way.

[24:53]

It is I, together with all beings, attain the Buddha way. I, together with cherry blossoms and cherry trees and many, many people, worshiping this inconceivable Buddha way. So again, the commentary quotes the Avatamsaka Sutra in commenting on these ten major precepts. The commentary of our little school says this is our understanding of these precepts. Our understanding of these precepts is deeply in accord with the Avatamsaka Sutras.

[25:56]

And then the commentary goes on, and one person is commenting on, his name's Kyogo, he was a disciple of Dogen, and he then goes on to say, all of creation, all of nature, speaks. Now someone might say, speaks what? He just says, speak, in the context of, this is a commentary on the Bodhisattva precepts. All of nature speaks the Bodhisattva precepts. All of nature says, teaches not killing. It doesn't say don't kill. All of nature speaks not killing.

[27:06]

Speaks not stealing. Speaks not taking what's not given. Look at the cherry blossoms. They speak not killing. They speak, not taking what's not given. They speak, not misusing sexuality. They don't speak, no sexuality. They speak, not misusing it. They speak, not lying. But not just the cherry trees, the cherry trunks and the earth in which they sit. All of creation, all of nature speaks the Bodhisattva precepts, speaks the Avatamsaka Sutra. The Avatamsaka Sutra says all of nature speaks this sutra. This sutra is the mouthpiece of all of nature.

[28:15]

The entirety of the Buddha's teaching is all of nature speaking. This is a teaching of our school, which comes through that wonderful island of Japan. And on that island, they gave this message. But this teaching of the Avatamsaka Sutra and Zen came from China. So in China, our school started to become more and more embodying and the embodiment of this sutra. And in Japan, the additional embodiment of this sutra in the Zen school was then embodied in the Bodhisattva precepts, in the interpretation of these precepts. Yeah, so there it is.

[29:27]

The Zen school says the cherry blossoms teach. And also we, we are part of the teaching process. They don't teach by themselves. They teach with humans and animals and all the other plants. So, yeah. So the title of this talk could be, Cherry Blossom Bodhisattvas. So now here we are together.

[30:43]

We're here together with all sentient beings and the Great Earth. And all of us together speak. All of us together listen. all of us together look, and all of us together speaks and expresses the Buddhadharma. So this is an offering to the great teaching of the sutra and the great tradition of our little Zen school in relationship to the Bodhisattva precepts.

[31:45]

And what I said is like one drop in the ocean of this sutra. So we're not going to run out of material in 10 years. You may run out of me in 10 years, but you're not going to run out of Dharma teachings from this sutra. And therefore, if you don't run out of Dharma teachings of this sutra, you don't run out of Dharma teachings of Zen. because Zen is full of the sutra, and the sutra is full of Zen, and that's what the sutra says, and that's what Zen says. Yes? How is it that Zen teachers teach the Dharma? How is it? They teach it incandescently and unceasingly. That's how they do it. And someone might say to you, do you see the light?

[32:59]

Do you see the light in this room? The light of this room is the way, right now, is the way we, all together. So you're a sentient being, someone might say. I'm a sentient being, someone might say. But all of us together is not a sentient being. All of us together is not a sentient being. It is an intimate transmission, but it's not something that's... Sentient beings have a tendency to be born and die. But the thing we're doing together isn't born and does not die. It's an insentient being. The way all of nature is speaking is not a sentient being.

[34:10]

The way all the sentient beings together with each other and with the great earth, that speaking is not a sentient being. It's not like a, it doesn't come like a little baby girl or a little baby boy or a little baby, what's the name of that rodent? Capybara. So my granddaughter wanted to go to a capybara cafe and have tea and hug capybaras. So she did. Capybaras are born and die. But they practice together with us. And people go thousands of miles to hug them. But the way we're practicing together is not a sentient being. It doesn't have feeling. This light doesn't have a feeling, like good feeling, bad feeling. It is an instant. It's a being.

[35:13]

What's a being? All of nature together is a being. And it's a light. And it's a voice. And it speaks to Dharma. I can't see with my eyes, but I can see everything that it pervades. I can see all the things it pervades, but I can't see the light. Me and you together practicing is the light. All of us together, all of us in this room, in this temple, and beyond, all of us together speak the Dharma. And that all of us together is an insentient being. All of us together doesn't have feelings. All of the beings who have feelings together isn't a feeling. And it's what really does the teaching.

[36:15]

I don't do the teaching by myself, but I'm part of the teaching in relationship to all beings, because I'm in relationship with all beings, but everybody else who is not teaching by themselves, is also in relationship to all beings. That is an insentient being. So the insentient being is doing the teaching, and the insentient being, which is doing the teaching, is how all the sentient beings are working together. Nature is how all the insentient beings are working together, but that's not all of nature. all of nature also includes the working together. It's all the sentient beings who are born and die, but it's also the relationship which isn't born and does not die. So nature includes both birth and death and nirvana. It includes things that have feelings and the relationship among all feeling beings.

[37:24]

all those practicing together realizes the Buddha way. Thank you for your offering of that question. Do you have another question to offer? I was thinking about conversation. Yeah. What's conversation? The conversation of all, the conversation of nature. The nature conversation is what speaks, the Dharma. It says, all of nature speaks. It doesn't say what, but in the context, it speaks the Buddha Dharma. The Buddha Dharma is nothing but all of nature speaking. How are you doing? What? Very well. Yeah, you are. Also, I saw this statement, this person on YouTube said, 10 things that Japanese do that'll make you very happy.

[38:32]

One of them is clean toilets. And another one is put the chair back under the table after you get up. But the one that came to my mind just now is the Japanese expression, if somebody asks you how you are, In Japanese, they often say, are you feeling well? Genki desu ka? Which means genki is like energetic or well. Genki desu ka? And you often might say, yeah, genki desu. But another thing they might ask you is not so much are you healthy, but how are you? Ikaga desu ka? And the answer that makes people happy, the answer that makes people happy, one more time, the answer that makes people happy is, Okagesamad√É©. Okagesama. Okagesamad√É©. What does that mean? It means, how are you? The answer is, I'm here because of all of you.

[39:39]

I'm here because of you, and [...] you. I'm here because of all of you. That expression, makes people happy. Even if I'm sick, okage samadhi. How are you? Ikage desu ka? How are you? Now if you ask me if I'm genki, I'll just say genki desu. But if you ask me how I am, I'm going to say, I'm here because of all of you. That's the Avatamsaka Sutra, which has pervaded Japanese culture. I'm not saying Japanese culture is perfect, but it has some good points, and that's one of them, is that people say that. Also, before they eat, they say, Itadakimasu, which basically means, I receive it. But the sense of it is, I receive it, I receive this food.

[40:46]

by the kindness and efforts of all beings. So in the Zen temple, we say 72 labors or innumerable labors brought us this food. That's like a Zen monastic version of itadakimasu. It's a monastic version of I receive this food by the effort and kindness of many beings. So I respect this food and I'm grateful for all the beings who bring it to me. But a more general thing is, I'm here because of reality, which is, we together with all beings and the great earth attain the Buddha way. Well, I was having a kind of a counter thought with, I mean, I was resonating very much with all of nature speaking the precept of not killing, not taking, and what's not given.

[42:10]

And then into my mind came the thought of the animal world where there is often combat and sometimes killing of other animals and also stealing of eggs, of birds, and how, yeah, that that's, so that's not exactly speaking. And also, that part of us that needs to become part of our living precept, that energy that comes from that part of us and the animal world So I'm wondering what your thought about that would be. One thought that came when you were speaking was, one day, one of our great ancestors, his name is Chinese ancestor, who is called Dongshan, or Tozan.

[43:18]

He was with his, one of his students, and the student saw some birds being cruel to each other. And the student said to Dungshan, what's that about? That's kind of your question. What's that about? And Dungshan said, that's for you. They're doing that for you, for you to ask that question. So the things you're bringing up, they're for you to ask the question. And now you have asked the question. Because of those things, you could ask this question. Because of those nasty birds, those birds in conflicts, the monk could ask the question. That's what all this conflict's about. It's to help us ask the question, well, what is not killing? What is not killing? These beings seem to be on the verge of or killing each other. What's that about? Well, that's for you to ask, where is not-killing?

[44:29]

Where is all sentient beings together with the Great Earth? How are those birds part of practicing together? If you could see that the birds fighting that way were practicing together with all beings, If you could see it, that would be not killing. As now, when I don't see it, but if I don't see it in such a way that I don't just see killing, I see where is and what is not killing. So I don't just see killing, I see the question, where are the precepts now? How are those birds or those animals who are killing each other, how are they the Buddha way? How are they? Yeah, how are they?

[45:32]

How are they practicing together with all beings? The way they are is what we're looking for. We're not denying this tragic situation. but we're not just getting stuck in the tragedy. We're asking, how is this the Buddha Dharma? How is this speaking? How is this speaking to us? And it's not just speaking to us by itself. It's not just this conflict by itself. That's not going to be... Even if you see people being friendly to each other, it's not them being friendly by themselves that's speaking the Dharma. It's Okage Samadhi. It's how these people who are being kind to each other are there being supported by all beings. That's where the Dharma is. So if people are being kind to each other, it's not the kindness all by itself, it's the kindness of them working together with everybody.

[46:33]

If people are being cruel to each other, of course, that's not the Buddha way by itself. So nothing is put away by itself. Cruelty and kindness are not by themselves. Kindness is always together with all beings in the Great Earth. And when kindness is together with all beings in the Great Earth, then everybody realizes the Buddha way. But cruelty, it's the same. If cruelty is by itself, it's just cruelty. Of course, cruelty is not attaining the Buddha way. impatience, unkindness, are not the Buddha way. But the way unkindness is working together with all beings in the Great Earth, that is the Buddha way being demonstrated. The first thing he mentioned was clean the toilet.

[47:36]

First clean the toilet, then put the chairs back, and then Let's talk about all beings together. So first, birds fighting. Let's get in there and not try to kill the birds who are fighting. Let's not try to stop the birds from being what they are. Let's just get in there and be intimate with this terrible situation. Let's get intimate with the messy, dirty aspects of life. And our own aggression. And our own aggression, yeah. Let's get intimate with our own aggression, be generous and compassionate to our own aggression. Then we're ready to open up and see that the aggression is working together with all beings. And that working together with all beings is all of nature. And that speaks the precept of not killing. That preaches the Dharma. Thank you. Let's see, maybe Homa, I don't know, or Oscar?

[48:43]

Yes, I think maybe this question was the question that I was contemplating on, and the only thought that comes to my mind, which I'm always contemplating on, which is the pure mind. The pure mind, she's devoted to contemplate the pure mind. So the pure, we often say, the pure mind of Buddha. And where does the pure mind of Buddha live? It lives in the mud. We live in the mud. We live in the toilet. We live in the ocean of cruelty. And we embrace it all with compassion and realize the pure mind of Buddha. The pure mind of Buddha is where all the darkness is interacting completely with all the darkness and all the light.

[49:56]

So that's how we take care of the pure mind of Buddha. Yes, Oscar. What a coincidence. Okay. And I just wanted to kind of partly to stimulate the study of the Great Sutra, to stimulate the realization of our simple little Zen practice. in relationship to it. I wanted to bring up a couple things about the Sutra, which then you probably will help me remember to talk to you about. One is, there's a chapter, a book in the Sutra called Names of Buddha. And, yeah, it's pretty much full of names of many Buddhas.

[51:01]

So one of the main points of the sutra, of the chapter, of the book, is that we have names for all these Buddhas, and the purpose of the names for all the Buddhas is so that beings who hear all these names can also have knowledge and vision in various ways. So in order for beings to have many different versions of knowledge and vision, we have names for Buddhas. That's sort of what the chapter is about. It's chapter number seven, by the way. And so the way it relates to our practice is that in receiving Bodhisattva precepts, we receive a name. And those names that we receive, when we receive the precepts, those names are so that sentient beings can have knowledge and vision.

[52:08]

So I just want to tell you, I would like to talk to you about that in more detail at some point, about how that sutra chapter relates to our practice of giving names and meditating on the sutra, but also meditating on your name. So it's just kind of like a little prompt For those of you who have a name, you can start contemplating your name. And by contemplating your name, you will be contemplating Buddha names. And you will be engendering the possibility of vision and knowledge by contemplating your Buddha name. That's how you study the Sutra, by studying your own name. And if some of you don't have a Buddha name, that can be arranged. But you have to ask for it. But a lot of people who do have Buddha names, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,

[53:12]

Do you have any buddha name orphans? 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, Yeah, so there's 21 people here who have received Buddha names, and some of the other ones who haven't have asked to receive it, and they will eventually receive it if they continue to practice together with all beings in the Great Earth. Another thing I want to tell you about is the chapter after chapter 7 is, you might guess, is chapter 8. And the name of that chapter is the Four Noble Truths, or the Four Holy Truths. And you've heard about them, but it's the Mahayana what's the word, rhapsody on the Four Noble Truths.

[54:29]

It's taking them basically and making them infinite. So I'd like to talk to you about that too. I'm telling you about that so you'll remind me to talk to you about chapter number eight. And then there's a ninth chapter too. And I think that chapter might be called Awakening by Light. What light? Well, it's the light of all of nature. Which you heard about earlier. The light of all nature. The light of all nature. The light speaks. and then there's a tenth and so on. But I'll stop there just to tell you that these are some parts of the Sutra that I'd like to discuss with you and try to relate them to our regular, ordinary daily practice. How is it for you to practice together with all sentient beings and the Great Earth?

[55:35]

How's it going? Okay. Yeah. Difficult. Yeah. Difficult. It's all of nature. All of it. You name it, it's included. All of it. All of it. No exceptions. It's all included. That all-inclusive practicing together is the Buddha way. And that all-inclusive practicing together speaks. Yes? Yes. Yeah, it's more like a constraint than a restraint, yeah. More like a constraint than a restraint. Yeah. Like, yeah, so you might

[56:38]

you might have some pillars in order to constrain a great temple to be a place that would actually hold a roof. But it doesn't exactly restrain the temple, it's more like, but you could call it a constraint of the temples, that temple roofs need pillars to hold them up. But it's not holding anything back, it's giving pillars. giving support. But giving support, you could say, is like a restraint of looking for something other than what's going on. We're restraining looking for something. For example, we're restraining thinking of practice as something that you do by yourself. So we're restraining people thinking that I can practice not killing by myself. I cannot practice not killing by myself. The birds cannot practice not fighting by themselves.

[57:44]

But they do practice not killing in their practice with all beings. So we can all teach, and we can all sing, but our singing, our Buddha singing, is together with everybody. Does that respond well to you? Good. Yes? It feels like practicing restraint is an invitation for me to practice whatever the offering is. Good.

[58:53]

Great. And yeah, so I am because of all of you. I'm nothing in addition to all of you. So you're not You're not your other. You're an other, which is me. You are the other, which is actually what I am. Did you ... about to raise your hand? No. You didn't move your hand, though. Well, I detected it, and you gave it to me, and you didn't do it by yourself. Are you leaving? Pardon? You can't, by the way, anybody can use the restroom, including you.

[59:57]

Anybody needs to use the restroom, please. You need to go, okay. If you need to go, you may go. You go with the blessing of us all. Anybody else go to the bathroom? Please know that you're always welcome to go to the bathroom. And then afterwards clean it. Was there another question? Yes, Gloria? It looks like that, doesn't it? Yeah. Unintentionally. Yeah, there's that, yeah.

[61:02]

Oni? Which means demon, right? Yeah. there's this oni. And I'm like, what? That was threatening them, and they were terrified. As it all turned out, the oni, of course, were cutting down forests and behaving in ways that were threatening. And it just put that program race with, is there really only a foolish degree, or only Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

[62:35]

We also went to Nara where they have this very large statue of Vairochana Buddha. And that statue was built in the 700s because the emperor wanted people to study this flower adornment scripture. And this is the Buddha of the flower adornment scripture. But right nearby is the Shinto shrine. So we went both to the Buddhist shrine and the Shinto shrine. And the Shinto shrine also had cherry blossoms. And this sutra is including all different traditions. Yes? But I have this need. this urge, or this comment, that anytime we shift or we move this energy to one part of the world, say these teachings, these understandings, to me this is more understanding, these are realizations, and when we shift this to one part of the planet,

[63:59]

It makes me uncomfortable, because this is a moving, moving. Yeah, moving to one part is uncomfortable. But this teaching of this sutra is not to move it to one part. It's to move it to all parts. So then it could be my, which is my perception, It's global, this teaching is global. The teaching of cherry blossoms is global. And some people from other parts of the world made that point during the blossom, that we have cherry blossoms in Iran also. These bodhisattvas pervade everywhere.

[65:06]

No exceptions. Well, that's okay with me, if you're happy. I accept your happiness.

[65:19]

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