Everything Is a Precious Mirror

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This morning I asked you, when you were sitting during the first period, do you wish for this sitting to express and realize good friendship? I've been asking that question to groups of people sitting for a while in various places. I also asked, do you wish this sitting to express perfect wisdom? I've also asked, do you wish this sitting to express the liberation of all beings from suffering?


Now I ask another question, which is, do you wish this sitting, the sitting that's happening right now, the sitting of this whole day, do you wish this sitting to express freedom from all our ideas? A base, a fundamental condition for suffering is attachment to ideas. Ideas of color, sound, smell, taste, tangibles, ideas of pain and pleasure, ideas of here and there.


Attaching to any of the dimensions or elements of experience is the basic definition of suffering. So then pain is suffering, pleasure is suffering, neutral sensation is suffering, birth is suffering, death is suffering. It sounds like everything is suffering, but the summary that the Buddha makes is, it's the attachment to those things that is suffering. Life is not suffering, but attachment to any dimension of our conscious experience is suffering. So again I've been saying for the last year over and over, actually I didn't say it towards the beginning of the year, I've been saying it recently, good friendship is the relationship among us that frees us from our ideas.


Good friendship is the kind of relationship that frees us from suffering. And in particular good friendship frees us from our ideas of friendship. Some people are involved in the idea of friendship and they're attached to their idea of friendship, and this is suffering. Some people are involved in friendship and they also have ideas of who is not their friend, and they're attached to that idea and that's suffering. But if I'm not attached to the idea of friend and not attached to the idea of enemy, that non-attachment to these ideas is made possible because of good friendship. It's not just by my own power that I'm not attached to my idea of who my friends are.


I might have the thought in my mind of who my friends are, I might have that thought, like I might think, oh, these people are my friends, I might think that. I'm not opposed to thinking that. And I might actually call you friend and mean it. But what I really wish for is that we practice together in such a way that we're free of our ideas like friend and not friend. If I say that perfect wisdom is to be free of our ideas about things, maybe that's easier for people to say, oh yeah, perfect wisdom would be free of ideas of things,


but good friendship, it might be surprising to hear somebody say, good friendship is to be free of your ideas of friendship and free of your ideas of good friendship. Someone recently said to me, if I let go of body and mind, what would I be? If I let go of my ideas of who I am and who you are and what my body is, if I let that all just drop away, who would I be? And I said, you would realize who you really are. You would be a person who realizes who she is. That's who you'd be. And as a matter of fact, that's who you already are. You already are the person you are. And if you would let go of your ideas of who you are, you would realize who you are.


But who is that? We do not know who we really are. Who we really are is infinite and inconceivable. We do not know it with our consciousness, which knows conceivable things. We do not know. However, we are who we are. Like Buddhas, when Buddhas are truly Buddhas, they don't necessarily think, I'm Buddha. When Buddhas are truly Buddhas, they let go of the thought, well, yes, I am Buddha. As a matter of fact, if you ask them, are you Buddha? They say, uh-huh. And then you say, are you holding on to that? They say, what? But if you say, you're Buddha, they say, you're right.


And also, you are. And I can say that because I'm Buddha and I forgot who I am. What we know about ourselves, what I know about myself, it's not that bad. The idea I have of myself, I don't walk around thinking, I'm just a terrible person. I don't think that. Sometimes I think, compared to some people, I'm not very smart. I do think that sometimes. Like I was reading this book, I think it's called, what's it called? I can't even remember. Oh, now I remember. It's called Critical Imagination. It's about the Frankfurt School of Philosophy.


And the guy who wrote it, wrote it when he was about 24. And I read this and I thought about the way I was when I was 24. And I thought, whoa, this guy is very, very smart. Anyway, I can live with that, that I'm not as smart as that guy was. Who knows now how smart he is. He's a little bit, he's one year younger than me. He's a big professor over at Berkeley. Anyway, he probably, I don't know. Anyway, I do sometimes think, you know, compared to him, I'm not very smart. But I'm not depressed about that, actually. Still, that thought about me not being smart, that little idea I have of myself, that's not me. That is a radically impoverished version of me.


That is an extremely reduced version of this infinite, inconceivable being that I am. Who is in this inconceivable, infinite friendship with everybody, which I don't know about. But I'm talking to you about it anyway. I've heard about this infinite friendship among all beings, that's sponsoring us to become free of our ideas. Would it work for you, Catherine, to move over that way a little bit? You can move your Zabaton too. So that the other Catherine can move over a little bit. So I can see both of you.


Thank you. Now the Catherines are closer together. Would you move over there? Got the Johns here together. And the Cairns. And the Cairns. Sometimes the friendship we know about is really very, very lovely. I have no problems with that. Sometimes the appearance of friendship is like so lovely. You could say it's beautiful. You could say it's beautiful. You could say that. But the actual beauty of the friendship is inconceivable. You can't see the friendship. It's beauty. You just see a reduced version of it.


But even so, like Sri Yukteswarji said, our small minds are big enough to have lots of problems. Our ideas of friendship are big enough to have plenty of problems. But again, in the realm of our ideas, we have a job which is to let go of our ideas of friendship and let go of our ideas of enemyship. And by letting go, we open to the inconceivable reality of friendship, which is what's sponsoring us to let our ideas drop off. In that way I've been stressing that perfect wisdom and good friendship are basically the same thing. And the other night in Berkeley I asked people, in what way are perfect wisdom and good friendship similar or the same?


And then they said a lot of things about how they're similar, how they're the same. Good friendship is, of course, intimacy. Perfect wisdom is intimacy. Nobody knows intimacy. If you know it, that's not the realization of intimacy. Intimacy is like perfect wisdom.


Intimacy is the lack of a basis for grasping in all our relationships. There's also, what comes up in consciousness is, if you have an idea of something good, that could be called an ideal, and you might aspire to the ideal. And then if I say to you, can you take care of that ideal without clinging to it? Because if you cling to the ideal, you become enslaved by it. So somebody says, I have this ideal, but I don't want to be enslaved by it.


Like you could have the ideal of being a bodhisattva. That's like the most ideal of all ideals, to be a person who is wise and compassionate and is skillful in liberating beings from suffering. That's an ideal, an ideal idea. And then a person could say, I have this ideal, but I don't want to be enslaved to it. And the same person, after they say, I don't want to be enslaved to it, they might say, but if I'm not enslaved to it, I might lose it. So part of the reason why we're enslaved to things is we're afraid we'll lose them if we're not enslaved to them. Some people have great ideals, like for example, freedom of religion, or the flourishing of Islam,


or the flourishing of Christianity, or the flourishing of Buddhism. They have these aspirations. And then they cling to them, and then they go to war. They cling to them, they're enslaved by them, and in their state of slavery, they become full of fear and at risk of violence. Always full of fear, that's for sure. But at the risk of violence. When we cling to our low ideals and high ideals, either one, but sometimes we cling more tightly to the high ideals, then we have fear. And when we have fear, we're at risk of violence. Good friendship is what makes it possible for human beings who have ideas


and have a long history of attaching to them, it helps them consider the possibility of letting go of their attachment to their ideas and ideals. And when they consider it, then they notice that they're scared. Like they think, well then, if I let go of my ideal of goodness, I might not be good. And I would say, maybe not. It's true, maybe not. Many people who hold on to their idea of good are extremely harmful. So, whether you hold on or not, you might be harmful. But the people who are not harmful, the people who manage to be harmless and beneficial, they have learned how to let go of their commitment to goodness.


And in letting go of it, they've let that goodness blossom in an indestructible way. Indestructible blossoming. Constant and indestructible because nobody can find it, nobody can cling to it, nobody can stop it, nobody can interrupt it. And they've realized that. But as we stand at the threshold of letting go of slavery to our ideas and having the fear of what that would be like and not knowing who we would be if we did that, even though we've heard you'll be who you really are, as we stand at that threshold and feel that fear, then again, we have the opportunity, by good friendship, to be with that fear, to be with that fear, and to be with that fear, and to be with that fear,


until the fear drops away with the clinging. And our true self comes forth in service of all beings. In an inconceivable process of liberation. When we realize that we're good friends with all beings, including all the beings who are holding on to their ideas of what is friendship, and what is good, and what is evil, we are in an intimate relationship with them, which we can't get a hold of, and they can't get a hold of, and because we can't get a hold of it,


and we don't own it, and they can't get a hold of it, and they don't own it, it functions, and nothing can disturb it. And it will liberate everybody. It keeps working to liberate everybody from their clinging to their ideas of right and wrong. It's working, constantly, uninterruptedly, incandescently, inconceivably, unthinkably, without beginning or end. And we can enter it from the place where we know things, from the place where we have ideas, by working with our ideas according to other ideas about how to work with our ideas. Be generous with our ideas, and so on. And be generous when we're not generous,


and be generous with those who aren't generous. Be generous with our clinging. Be generous with other people's clinging. I've already said a lot, but I thought it might be helpful to also mention another big topic, which is the same thing. Another name, well, actually there's many names in the Bodhisattva path for different types of, what we call, concentrations, or samadhis, which are different forms of concentrated attention. And one of the Bodhisattva concentration practices


is called the Precious Mirror Samadhi, or the Precious Mirror Concentration. The Precious Mirror shows us that everybody is our good friend. When you look in the Precious Mirror and say, Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the most beautiful of them all? The mirror says, everybody is you. Everybody is Buddhadharma. Everybody is teaching you what good friendship is. You look at this face, you look at that face, and you get to see who you really are.


Without grasping that I'm this person, or I'm that person. This person and that person are showing me who I really am, which includes everybody. Everybody inconceivably includes everybody. Everybody and everything, from other to self, all teaching me who I am. That's the Precious Mirror. And then, if you can see in this mirror, there's instructions about what to do with this vision. So we have a song that we sing over at Zen Center, and which we can sing here today. Could somebody find our sutra books? It's called the Song of the Precious Mirror Samadhi. And in that text,


it tells you what to do with this Samadhi, with this mirror. And it also tells you that this mirror has been intimately transmitted from Buddhas and ancestors to us now. This mirror has been transmitted to you now. Now you have it. You've got the mirror right now. So, how do you take care of this Precious Mirror that you have? Do you have the Precious Mirror? Yes. Well, anyway. Pardon? It has me. It has you.


Does the Precious Mirror have you? It has her, and it has you. You and you have it. Okay? You've got it. So how do you take care of it? You've got it and you've been encouraged by the ancestors. The Buddhas and ancestors have transmitted and the Buddhas and ancestors encourage us to take care of it, since you have it. And how do you take care of it? Don't pass it on yet. We're going to do it at the end. But I'm glad you have it handy. Would you bring it here to me? Thank you. Now I have it. And it's kind of heavy. Kind of heavy.


Kind of heavy. Kind of heavy. It's a big responsibility. But infinite beings are joining and holding it. Because everybody's got it. So I'm not doing this all by myself. So there's advice in the song about how to take care of the Precious Mirror. And one of the main advices is turning away and touching are both wrong. For it's like a massive fire. What's a massive fire? It's like a massive fire. What perfect wisdom is like a massive fire? Good friendship is like a massive fire.


Perfect wisdom, maybe no surprise, perfect wisdom burns up all attachment to ideas. Perfect wisdom relieves all fear and distress. Would you get the perfect... Perfect wisdom brings light so that all fear and distress may be forsaken. Good friendship brings light so that all fear and distress may be forsaken. And disperses the gloom and darkness of delusion. Good friendship, that's what it does. Good friendship disperses attachment to what good friendship is. The Precious Mirror also is good friendship and perfect wisdom.


So, turning away from it is not correct. Touching it is not correct. Everyone's supporting us here. Here we go down. We're landing at no abode. I'm not finding it, but perhaps it's in the book. Pardon? I'm not finding it, but perhaps it's in the book. Well, if you're not finding it, then go into the closet that you protect from most infestations and you'll see a small manila envelope. Would you bring that envelope? It's about five by eight. What's she going to bring? She's going to bring a hymn to the perfection of wisdom. A hymn to the Dual Mirror. Don't touch the Dual Mirror.


Don't grab it, but don't turn away. If you touch it, you'll get burned. If you turn away, you'll freeze. If you touch good friendship, you'll get burned. If you turn away, you'll freeze. So, what do you do with it? What is it? It's intimacy. So you practice intimacy with it. If you're excited, you fall into a pit. And you might get quite excited if good friendship showed up. Hello, I'm good friendship. If you're excited, you fall into a pit about what? About good friendship? About the precious mirror? Relieving all suffering?


You might get kind of excited about that. You might get fanatical about it. This is like high quality stuff here. Perfect wisdom. Good friendship. It frees all beings from suffering. You might be at risk of getting excited about this and getting fanatical about this is really a great thing. Everybody should have this precious mirror samadhi. Then you fall into a pit. No, no, no, no, no. We don't get fanatical about it. We just think, this is good. Really good. This is like... I don't want to say too much about how good this is. It's... Anyway. Also, if you turn away, if you hesitate, then you're filled with doubt. And if you're filled with doubt, if you hesitate, you're filled even more with doubt.


However, this isn't the eternal damnation. If you hesitate and you're filled with doubt, and then you hesitate and you're filled with doubt, you get more filled with doubt. And then if you hesitate again, you get more filled with doubt. But if you hesitate again, you get more filled with doubt. And finally you just pop. You pop. And all that's left is the precious mirror of who you are. And who you are saves all beings from suffering. Who you are saves all beings from suffering. But you have to let go of who you are in order to save all beings from suffering. You have to let go of attachment to an idea of who you are in order to dive into the vast, inconceivable ocean of who you are. And who you are is you are good friendship.


You are good friendship. You are precious. You are perfect wisdom. And each of us is good friendship in a different way. So, again, I just want to tell the new people I often laugh when I think of things in my mind which I haven't told you yet. So you want to know what I thought of? So, when I got ordained by Suzuki Roshi to be a priest, he told me what my name meant. He said, your name, before the ceremony, he said, your name will be Tenshin. He didn't say the whole name, Tenshin Zenki. Your name will be Tenshin. And he said, Tenshin means Reb is Reb. Here's the punchline. And people may have problems with that. I am good friendship. Who I really am,


after you and I let go of our ideas of who I am. Like some of you, your idea of me is that I'm your good friend. Some of you have that idea about me. You told me, you told me. I think you're my good friend. Some people told me that who are in this room. Nobody in this room has told me you are my big enemy. Nobody told me that the last few days. But anyway, I am, who what I really am, is good friendship. However, the way good friendship manifests of me is that Reb is Reb. And that may be a problem for you. The way good friendship manifests as me might be a problem. And the way good friendship manifests as you might be a problem. The way the precious mirror is me for you might be a problem for you. But he said,


people may have a problem about that, but nothing can be done. You have to work with what's in the mirror. What's in the mirror. Can I have a different Denise, please? Can I have the one I had last Tuesday? Or could you just give me another one, even if I haven't seen her before. I want a different one than this. No, that's called turning away. If you turn away from this Denise, you'll freeze. But it's not eternal freezing. It's just a moment of freezing. Now, if I like this Denise and try to hold on to it, that's going to burn both me and might even burn Denise unless she also is practicing right. If I try to grasp her, I get burned, but she might be able to say, go ahead, grasp me. I'm not going to turn away from you grasping me as your idea,


as your idea of me. Well, like I said, I already said quite a bit, and then I said more just there, but now I think I can stop. So you got the picture. Summary, precious mirror, perfect wisdom, good friendship. Those are three different ways of talking about the main event that the Bodhisattvas are focusing on. They're concentrated on this precious mirror. Precious mirror, precious mirror, oh yeah, precious mirror. I'm looking at the precious mirror. I'm not going to get excited. How wonderful, but not fanatical. And I'm not going to turn away from this wonderful precious mirror either, even though it looks like that. And even if it looks like


you've got a problem with me, I'm not going to turn away from it. I'm going to look at you without having a problem with it looking like me. And I'm going to listen to your problems with me. That's my vow. Because that's my vow to meditate on the precious mirror, to meditate on good friendship, to meditate on perfect wisdom. So now we have a big opportunity here to do some singing. So we can sing a hymn to perfect wisdom. Want to? Well, here you go. You want one? Yeah, here you go. You don't need one. Do you want one? You pass? Maybe just to be in tune with everyone else. We might not have enough. Then I don't need one. You don't need one? Then I'll give you one. That's Zen, right? She doesn't need one,


I give her one. Do you need one? I would love one. You would love one? Here. Thank you. You want one, Amanda? No. Here. Anybody else that doesn't need one? Here. This is the hymn to the perfection of wisdom. The lovely, the holy. Now you're going to have it. Now, another thing about this place. There's a... This place, what's this place called? Yeah. One of the things about this place is that we have very... In accord with the name of the place, here's the kind of sutra books we have. Look. I asked for sutra books and what did they bring? They brought the sutra books.


This is perfect, right? So here's the precious mirror for you to look at. Okay? Who wants to read one of these? This is like a really high quality precious mirror. Look at that guy. Wow. Who's running this show? This is like too good to be true. And then we have... We have something else here. We have the... We have the great... We have the... The great perfect wisdom... The heart of great perfect wisdom we have here. And then we have... And then we have the song of the precious mirror samadhi. It's right in here. Right there. And the... The pages are not numbered.


So... So... But... It's in here. Look. See? Go ahead. You want that? Thank you. Okay. And see we've got another one here. Oh, there's another one. Want to look at it? Here. Now you have it. Take care of it. Okay, let's see if we've got any more here. Isn't that amazing? We have the song of the precious mirror samadhi here. Do we have any shortage of these perfect wisdom hymns? Okay. And here's a precious mirror for you. Here's a precious mirror for you. Do you want one, John? Sure. Here's a precious mirror for you. Want one, Lucetta? Sure. Okay.


Got a whole bunch of them here. And they're heavy, so be careful. And one for you. Want one? You got the whole thing right in your... You got the whole world in your hands? Yes. Okay. Want one? Back over there? Anybody else need one? Okay. And now there's some more. Some more. Some more. Got a lot of them. Look at that. They're just coming and coming, covering the whole world with the precious mirror. Precious mirror samadhi. Precious mirror samadhi. Good friendship samadhi. Perfect wisdom samadhi. Another joke which you didn't hear, which is,


these facilities are brought to you by donations by people like you. More. More. More. Here's two more. Any more? More. More. Any more? More. More. It's infinite. More. Two more. More. Here. Wow. Want one? Well, then you can have one. If you want one, I'll give you one. And if you don't want one, I'll give you one. Kriya, got one?


Okay, can you find it? Now open the book and look inside. And what do you find? Is it in there? Thanks for bringing these sutras, you guys. It was great. Where did you find them? Up in heaven? Got one? I don't know. It's kind of old. It's kind of old. It wasn't made right now. It's not the same as some other ones? Okay, so it's good that you have it so you can read it well. In that case, can I have one too? Okay. Alright. Here we go. It's very strange. It may be old. So does the one you have start out,


the Dharma of Suchness? Dharma of Thusness. Dharma of Thusness. You have that one? The Dharma of Thusness? Okay. Alright, so is everybody ready with your precious, with your scriptures and hymns and everything? Okay, so first we're going to do the hymn. And we're going to do the song of the precious mirror samadhi. Okay, ready? Ready? Hymn to Prajnaparamita. Homage to the perfection of wisdom, the holy, the holy. The perfection of wisdom gives life. Unstained, entire world cannot stain her. She is a source of light, and from everyone in the triple world moves darkness.


Most excellent are her works. She brings light so that all fear and distress may be forsaken. Disperses the gloom and darkness of delusion. She herself is an organ of vision. She has a clear knowledge of the own being of all dharmas. She does not stray away from it. The perfection of wisdom, through this, steps in motion the wheel of dharma. Song of the precious mirror samadhi. The Dharma of Thusness. With smell, hair, and hidden in the womb. They may get similar, they are not the same, or undistinguished, their places are known.


The meaning does not reside in the words, but it is the moment that brings it forth. Who, in who are trapped, lives in equality without emasculation. Turning away and touching our own throng, for it's like a massive fire. Just for a day, liberally warms the brain with fun. In our society, it is hard to be clear, no light and harmony is hidden. It is a center for all things. It removes all suffering. Although it is not constructed, it is not beyond words. Like facing a precious mirror of form and emotion, we mold each other. You are annihilated, but it is within you. Like a newborn child, it is fully endowed with all aspects. No growing, no coming, no arising, no dying. Follow all of the things that are not.


And there is nothing for the words that are not there, right? In the illumination hexagram, at times the cradles interact. How about they become three, the permutations make five. Like a taste of a five-flavored herb, like a fine rum, wonderfully embraced within a ritual, coming and staying together. Entering the source, you travel the pathways, you raise the territory, and interpret the rules. You, you can often respect this, do not neglect it. Natural and non-physical, it is not a matter of division or enlightenment. Within causes and conditions, time and space, and values remain and remain. So I need to be an interpreter of that, so that I can sense a dimension of characteristic deviation and non-parallel to you. Now there are sudden and gradual


approaches that arise when the teachings and approaches are extinguished. Each has its standard. Whether the teachings and approaches are an answer or not, reality constantly flows. Outside still, and inside trembling, like tentacles or cowering bats, the ancient sages read for them the law, for them the dharma. Led by their inverted views, they take thought for what? When inverted, their thinking stops, the inferring mind naturally abhors. If you want to follow the ancient tracks, please observe the stages of the past. The woman on the verge of the mountain took her way, fought her way to the tree, and then called us. Like a battle-scarred tiger, like a horse with shanks on a gray, because on our longer ritual tables and on our bedrolls, because on our wide-eyed cast,


like an oxen. With his archer skill, he had marred a hundred faces, but the narrow one he had on pocketed a matter of skill. The wooden man starts to sing, the stone woman gets out of dancing. It is not reached by feelings or consciousness, but by living thought deliberations. Mr. Cirque d'Or still don't pay their respects. Not everything is not real. But in Mr. Cirque d'Or, we're practicing consciousness really like a fool, like an idiot, just to give attention to the space called the house within the house. May our intention equally extend to every being and place. Create the true merit of Buddha's way. Beings are numberless.


I vow to save them. Delusions are inexhaustible. I vow to end them. Dharma gates are boundless. I vow to enter them. Buddha's way is unsurpassable. I vow to become it. As I was reading that with you, I thought this really is a good song about friendship, the kind of friendship of the Buddhas. So, this afternoon maybe we'll talk a little bit more about this precious mirror of good friendship. And now, as advertised, you can have lunch.