Given at Green Gulch Farm on Sunday, January 8, 2006 -- (Part 1)
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.