Crisis: A Spiritual Turning Point

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Spiritual life exists in crisis, which can be used as a turning point. To the extent that we recognize that where we sit right now is a turning point, we are able to understand the possibility of freedom in this moment. The Chinese character for "crisis" consists of two radicals: danger and opportunity. A common danger is the crisis of faith that emerges when the conversation or stories about "truths" are stopped. Zen stories are about crises and turning points, where people in face-to-face meetings turn from bondage to freedom, and from ignorance to enlightenment. They are stories that demonstrate that opening to the dangers that surround us is also opening to the opportunities, and closing to those dangers closes us to those opportunities.

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i think the last three times i spoke to hear
i suggested that

our spiritual work
freedom work
the crisis is the place
for spiritual life
say it would be them
a turning point for the turning point

right now is sitting here
i guess on this planet
to the extent that we can see that where we sit right now
he's a turning point
that helps us understand the possibilities of freedom at this moment
turning point
and i've also been mentioning that
the chinese were the chinese expression one of the chinese expressions for crisis is made of to other words
and those two words are too
characters are
danger and opportunity
right now there's an opportunity for freedom
but there's also a danger
right here is the danger of not being free
is in danger reacting to not free
scott always lots of danger around us
but lots of opportunity to lots of opportunities
for freedom

and i also
standing over and over that
if we opened different to gauge to the dangers that surround us
that opening also at the same time is an opening to the opportunities around us
if we close to the dangers around us
we close to the opportunities

the opportunities are still there and the dangerous as don't there it just requires to
and when i say opened a danger
don't mean necessarily that you become afraid of the danger isn't
some of the time
if we opened to danger
we haven't seen it before or even if we have seen it before it opened in danger sometimes they become afraid
so for example
everybody in this room is in some sense possibly
wholesome danger for each of us
so if you came up here and sat or stood at runnymede started speaking to this group you might have some opening to some danger
many people feel somewhat afraid to come up and speak in front of a group of people large group of people
because when they do when they noticed when i opened to boys as a lot of people here
they asked for some open to well some of them might think i'm good looking
more some of them if i say anything some of my think why not
me or somebody might think somebody thing about me that they don't like so it's dangerous to speak in front of a large group of people and i would say
i'm in danger to you
in your endangered to me

but it's possible to open to the danger and not be afraid
but there is year we have been open to the dangers of fear but is also opportunities in there
when you interfere
it can be a place
a crisis point two
it you can see the dangers of the year you can see the opportunities of appeared you can become free in the middle of fear
some us though has to be able to look clearly at the danger
clearly and calmly be present with the danger than we can be clear and from with the presence of the opportunity if we're shaking with fear or shaky with the danger then we'll have trouble getting on
the horse of freedom
but if we can
the horse some danger
and got get on remain or is also that this is a freedom remorse

like to bring up the game
a turning point or the crisis of faith
it doesn't fail in your life
or you interact with people who have some kind of fame
i'd like to point out of the crisis aspect
so again feel like anything else it it's happening
doubt also
start with fame
there is a dangerous
surrounding face
and there's opportunities surrounding

are you may some of you may know lots of dangers around fame
oh i am
i know just point i this point on a couple and you can bring up let more later he liked it
one of the dangers of spain is so
particularly religious name is that town
people may think that
or they may feel that they don't have a reason for their faith they just believe in certain things or the distress certain things like they just trust much things but they may trust certain religious practices
in ned in the tradition of the buddha
there's a teaching not cannot really touched trust things
like mountains and rivers and planets because they were god
the rockies may tumble the broader makes crumble
but our love is here to stay
so we we don't really even trust them mountains
because they are impermanent but what do we trust me my trust
being present with the mountains when they crumbled
we might i might prime proposing to you in a way that you consider trusting living in the crisis of the mountains that when you're in the mountains you know especially in california these novels can move
they can crack they can crumble and we can be hurting
but if you can face the danger of the mountains
i'm proposing you can find the opportunity of freedom and mountains
so i trust actually living at the turning point an opening to danger and opportunity and freedom the freedom opportunity in dangerous situations we live in i trust that
i tell you about it you might trust it to
but the danger there is that you might think water remain i don't really have a reason for trusting us
you might not have a reason my santa sounds in a good idea
and you don't approve it as a good idea it is my give it a try
try living in crisis since is where you are already
quaint me
but again the danger if you if you can't justify to prove that it's good
one of the dangerous is
in warm
slip into thinking well i get another third from i i received it on good authority so it's true couldn't be wrong
and therefore there's no conversation about it either you agree with me you don't need a down you're wrong
and we have nothing to say to each other
and i think again when name
that when the conversation stops between us
between between people who have and also between people who don't have faith and people do anything when the conversation stops
the turning stops for is hindered
so another and hundred and a big big social danger of faith in gun the accuracies
you know states where
some religious truth or some faith has helped to being
infallible unquestionable
and and anybody your question is actually can
can be in danger of a kind of
spiritual or religious
inquisition process
and this can happen in iran or afghanistan or the united states or stone is muslim

lot get people were afraid to question the invasion of iraq because there was a kind of feeling right if you question it you're not being patriotic
and why say and wants to the invasion occurs into question it you might not be patriotic
and patriotism
he is good
and there's no question about the no questioning no conversation that is good

it's a good thing but there's no conversation about it

there's a story that it's a good thing but there's no way to question the story

and even czech writer named milan kundera said i invent stories
and then i
i i use them to confront each other
by this means
i ask questions

he makes a story makes a nice during conferences
and the story start turning
this way he turns his stories into a wave crests question he says
the stupidity of humans comes from having answers for everything

the wisdom of a novel
comes from having questions for another thing
so he writes a story in any separate division story says that's not what happened and it tells another version of it this is what helped me so that's not really would happen either this
what's happening
it's turning what's happening is turning

so the opportunity
a danger of fame
is it
we'll take it literally
well actually
he had to take it literally
but then you don't have to keep taking you can take it literally and then let it turn are taking their name bring up another story takes a little literal stories can start turning joe
but to take it literally and hold it literally and say it's true and as no conversation that's the danger that can lead to war among them
so yeah i'm all these different face in the world now
and zan is one of them in a way
but then is a faith which says
our fate is a story
it's a story telling place
it's a fictional
faith is a paper by fiction
it using fictions
to keep the conversation going
til the a lot of stories and then
about crises about turning points

and these stories about turning one's
about where people turn from bondage to freedom from ignorance to enlightenment these stories
our stories they're not what happened
their stories about what happened
but then what happened
cause there's just stories
so when you stay a story about some sand people getting enlightened or some stories about suzanne people interacting really compassionate man
as the story about what they were actually doing it was actually happening
it isn't what happened
and because it is storing you can say that
when you hear about some zen teaching you say that didn't happen
and a present cause you may say
you're right you say what you tell me what
so you can say that
now you tell me what really happened and then you can say say i didn't happen is that's right i did take a he told me to were having a conversation
then stories are not what really happened said saris are just stories about what happened
and by the way ultimate ladies are stories to help us understand that nothing happens
actually nothing's really happening
and that's another story
you can say yes things are happening
but basically
fundamentally at peace and nothing's actually happened as an illusion

so then we have that stories
what's happening that aren't what's happening
the story's never really did happen but the stories about what happened
the fictions the creations their inventions to help us
question everything so he can turn so he can dare to face the dangers of the world and open to the opportunities
usually we want to have a story which is actually what's happening story is true but it behold the story that's true it's hard for us to face the dangers at the stories and actually false
true stories are in danger of being close but if they're so true that they had no danger of being called can we close to the danger of our true stories so we close to the dangers of being free of our true stories so some people are walking around with true stories and your hopefully enslaved by them
miserable with their true stories which cannot know which cannot turn
and also misery loves company so they want everybody else to hold onto this true story with them and you get everybody who is not believe in started to believe it
so everybody's got answers for everything

and then we have
these people got answers for everything these people got answers for everything
and they have different countries rapidly so stupidity arises and long wonderful people
but wisdom arises
when nice people start asking questions like if it
possibly or truth could be like can danger of not being true
remaining with bring the inquisitor in on honest person they're asking questions of our truth
they want to have a grab a conversation about our truth and could have a conversation about the truth of the put away what

is it possible that than to go we're saying here and true is not true

it possible what i'm saying her is not true

so i said as during our stories and
doesn't give you the truth then
each other face to face
it's not like sans got the truth and here's an here's an here's the truth
now it's like zan is when you need
each other face to face
in that meeting
the turning starts happening and in that meeting there's danger
every meeting was danger as danger that you'll get hurt and that you'll hurt someone three danger rule
be afraid
and hold on your truth and put somebody
with your attention
and clean
and disrespect for everybody that disagrees with your unassailable truth
there's a danger
but there's also in that meeting an opportunity and opportunities said i gotta true you gotta true it's everybody's gotta have a true and i now endanger my truth to you
please be kind to my tree but still if you want to ask any questions about it go ahead
but please be gentle
i don't want to be gentlemen bureaucracy the truth
yeah that's a possibility
and i open to it
and now there's freedom for a moment
because idol endangered my truth to you in the meeting
there's presented
there's the determine there's there's the freedom in that meeting face to face meeting and the meeting transmits that liberating truth
are you can say then is a conversation
and it can be a verbal conversation or a physical composition
when dancing together or
walking together
touching elbows
passing a pencil
corn in many stores are raising a whisk

and also seen is a transmission but it's not a transmission from zenni to you are from you to then
it's a transmission what happens
in the midst of the whole universe everywhere
it's the way the truth is being transmitted all over the place between everything
and in particular it's the way it happens between two people
to enlighten people

two people who are enlightening by transmission that's happening between one or two people who are awakened to the transmission that's happening between them we are actually in a process of transmission a mutual transmission all day long
and in your stories about people waking up to this transmission
and he's your story they're not the actual waking up to the transmission their stories about the waking up to the transmission of freedom between people and
the transmission of freedom
true the meeting
so we have this expression and zan quite a long time ago that it's a special transmission outside the scriptures so many religious traditions many faith traditions had scriptures
and then in a sense live in a world where there's many then live in the world with as many face just like you live in a world
where there's many face your like that you live in the same place sanders
in a world of many faiths
a world of many scriptures
zan is a special transmission and the ocean of scripture
which is outside this country
but what's inside the scriptures means
using the scriptures and not using scriptures using the scriptures not using scriptures and won't be fine

so we have an ocean of scriptures an ocean of beings
you see the ocean of beings you see the ocean is countries to see the ocean of pace that's where we live
when i have played yourself but you're you're surrounded by people who do have faith right now in a new may not have anything
but there's millions of people and churches right now are all around you
particularly order to the east because i can maybe the whales are in church to i don't know
we're surrounded by religious people
in the sense that people who
i have faith as part of our life and some of those religious people
are some of those people a whole to their fate as i mentioned they hold their fate
they're not gonna have a conversation about their faith
their faith is not a whisk
this is my fave some people are like that in some zen people are like that too because and because they have a badge as in badge
and they have a membership card and they have a them back
and so there and their reels and people and they're not going to have a conversation about that so watch out for them
but if you can meet those people those people who don't want have a conversation
if you can meet them and it goes are dangerous people was people who think their then
and now don't want to have a conversation about it and you've gotten is a good eye for composition is in no i want to a conversation about zen you believe what zinnias or shut up
so you know again and again i think of this you know
this story on this scene i saw a woody allen movie i told you before as he said it's a story where he's a bank robber and and wise up and in prison
in southern part of the united states are it's kind of like a chain gang style prison and candor he's he's coming in with the new recruits or the new inductees
the new prisoners and we have a dirt a very fierce and violent
head guard with all kinds of weapons he's holding his hands and that's a big tough guys behind him and he sang let me tell you a little bit about the way we do things here and then he tells him
and if you don't wanna go along with these policies we have here it will be very very horrible for you
you will be very very sorry if you do not go along with our rules
we will hurt you
we will harm you
after setting like that kind of talk
cruel and i'm talking to these poor people who are non prison rather than rather than producing oh you poor guy who commit these crimes and nine a prisoner i'm really sorry for you he's more says you're in prison how you gotta follow these rules or we're gonna punish you
any questions and woody allen answers ah yes and i am a question
and i'm put in parentheses i like to have a conversation
he says to think it's only to pet on first date
and actually the guards fierce crew guard is disarmed as doesn't want to do it
salade then people are in our arms other religions who had these
the space that they hold up in the dirt you know they're ready to smash you with if you don't believe them and you think will they don't want have a conversation about the spain they want me to submit or
shut up or both
maybe he said outright
ask a question
keeping think diary to put on a first date
i read is not novel recently about afghanistan during the
my thing was during the taliban era or right afterwards and this guy was watching tv and lisa i guess there he mom's
islamic teachers are having a discussion about whether or when young man because young men and are trying to wear their pants down below their own will not like united states and i mean they were the pants of the underpants show
when i was kinda wore pants lol like that too but no underpants
this fish their cease to the crack
but not the underpants are part of the presentation
someone thought it's the boys version of a girl's exposing their belly buttons but anyway so these boys in afghanistan are going around her wearing a pantry a low shine their underpants of the moms were discussing whether or not these boys would go to hell for wearing are passed on it and i went back and forth like this
providing binary happen at the end they decided yesterday will go to hell
but wearing your pants low
but at least there was a conversation
of course there were no women and on the conversation and know then people were allowed
to ask about dates but
at least they were having a conversation it wasn't like settled beforehand yes definitely no question about they will go to hell for wearing a lol that's a little bit a rumor going around for freedom
and in fact even though they didn't decide yes they will go to hell after the discussion it was kind of money
little bit of killing young and will kind of money
because of the play beforehand even though they came up with this kind of unfortunate conclusion for the boys
there's a lot of freedom in that
what attracted me is that was i was is their story
the stories about people having great awakenings that isn't what attracted me what attracted me i think there's anyone stories of people having conversations
people who got together and had conversations and and you can see i i can see i felt in a conversation is for freedom freedom from want freedom from
stuck for him from not been free
i told you these stories over and over again on the stories of people interacting having conversations
like this an uncle lived in a fishing village and a girl got pregnant and she told her parents that he was the father the parents went and had a conversation with him
and the conversation was
your are really rocking priest you're a disgrace to the buddha dharma
and when the kid comes you take care of you monster
and he says
is that so
the baby is born they bring him the baby he takes her the bay for two years with the assistance of a winners and the girl cows the parents and actually he's not the father somebody else's and going to prison i say have another conversation
they say you're a great priest or so sorry accused of bosley
he didn't argue with us
he didn't defend yourself and you took care of our grandchild we thank you so much
we're honored to know you and you are
you're the reason why we practice to put away people like you and he said the song
and i thought that's a nice conversation i liked them the conversation goes to types where people are coming to me and criticizing the falsely
and i said
this is what's happening on and then they come in
praise me falsely and i got myself
when they come and tell me stories about myself people come and tell me stories stories about myself people come and tell you stories about yourself
they say all your this so your that how you appear to me it is and you appear to be around
i get items don't tell yourself and stories about themselves i hate you
i want a story about myself in think you're a jerk and of story
they tell us stories
and but do we feel like all this is like the beginning of a conversation that sounds like a understands the conversation opportunity here
so the special transmission outside the scripture means we don't use the scriptures
we don't use the teachings to get the truth

we use the meeting and the conversing
to get the truth
i don't get the truth you don't get the truth our conversation gets the truth
when we're talking is know like when really the country's the truth takes over us takes us overthrow our conversation
the curtain away so again we can use the scriptures that we use the scriptures are we cannot use the scriptures are we can use the scriptures but we used the scriptures to have a conversation so we become free of descriptions
we use our faith to become free resume in this tradition we use our face as a point of departure
beyond our kitchens
again as i said using this country is not using these countries and rounded paid

so i got a lot of stories about
well i think there are lots of stories about people conversing
so wow
but it's getting late already
and i know you have a daily
with a muslim or don't know
you have a day with no nothing
i'm kind of sorry for us
i don't get i'm not going either right
tony blair i get a them
i think that's funny don't you
okay so high
maybe this time for a few stories
the gender markers
the street
well there's a story right there
there's a great teacher
was he isn't in georgia i thank now
he has a tenant comes to him and says
did you
a monk has come and he wants to know
what is a living meaning of the buddha wayne
an georgia says to his attendant go tell him to help bring some team and leave

and so it goes and tells the guy and he comes back his head teacher i told him
by the way things are what is the meaning of the boot away
and joshua says
kingston came clean

giorgos grandfather
was named
master mom
mommy's horse
he was the horse ancestor the great spiritual horse of is and tradition master wrong
along came to him one time instead
beyond the for
beyond the one hundred negations what is the living meaning of the buddha away
so here you saying these are these teachings of for the for propositions in one hundred negations is her teachings in the tradition to help people actually i would say become to bring their teachers to help you find the turning point
when a spiritual work of deliberation curves
say so beyond these teachings
where's the many meaning where's the special transmission outside these teachings he doesn't hit you know he's heard these teachings may i ask me about the teacher he's asking what it's like words the transmission beyond these teachings teacher
it's asking the great master matson
and mattresses says
i'm really tired today i can't explain it to you
go ask my students
ah shit on
so england and nasty on
same question what's the living meaning of the buddha away in few chances are when it as the teacher or just master money that mr mottram it as you said oh well i've got a headache
i can't explain to you
go ask master glass brother or mastered
why hi
so yours and as weihai another great zen master is a to grades them matters students something
super great sadness
so they go as by john y hi
an end he says why did just teacher chances because the same time canon
and why i says well after all this i don't understand
i promise i understand what's this living buddhism beyond this teachings
it was back and tells manziel what happened with this to great students and he says
i see tommy's hair was white and my hair is black
that's a story of a conversation

can they tell you what the living meaning of the put away beyond these all these wonderful teachers want to tell you what sort of them
but it wasn't something you can get on culture and
who say well we're not going to have a conversation about this
it seems like you might want have quite a few conversations about that conversation like what was that about who was that masked man
what was that who was there when i talking about
i'm changing religions
wait and find out something
hold onto it
i'm not a on his conversations and questions

it's getting late
it's quarter or whatever
i gotta be gone
but you me to set up one more for the role
there's a not for you guys
how many people are in operation
still three
by six seven how many people want another one
well the people who are not for i would suggest is standing your head
or stand on one foot my to stand up stand up and jump around a bit gets an exercise is the most people want one was during clinical stand up
can have a hip conversation
maybe that's the meaning of hip
have a conversation with her hips
so unfortunately this is really a long story

so once upon a time
there was a chinese monk
who lived in china

and he heard about and he was an expert on the scriptures
it seemed like
he had description does seem like he had some idea about what they meant
and then he heard
well actually i know my demo
i are not gonna make the great as long as it really is anyway has some idea about what the scriptures men and and he heard about the same school of teaching
about how you could