Just This Is: the Avatamsaka Sutra in the Zen Tradition

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We just finished a practice period over the ridge in the valley of the Jolly Green Dragon. Did any of you participate in that practice period? No, but at the end we had a sashin. Some of you were in the sashin, right? For six months I've been in practice period. Now my schedule is more open. During the practice period, the theme of the practice period, which is also the theme of a series of meetings over in Berkeley, the theme was Buddha activity.


You heard of that before? I brought it up here last time, right? Buddha activity. I heard that Buddha, the word Buddha is the past participle of the root bud, which means to awake, so Buddha is awakened, awakened one. So, awakened, awakening, awakening is an activity. It's not just a state of awareness. It's not just a mind. It's an active awareness. It's an activity awareness. It's a practice. It's a way of life. And this activity of awakening frees beings, and the awakening wants to free beings, and


it wants to free all beings. The Buddha activity is wishing and liberating all beings from not being liberated, from being kind of trapped in their karmic consciousness. So, the Buddha activity is to free beings from their unfreeness, so they may live in peace and harmony with all beings. So, that's the Buddha activity we've been considering. Shall we consider it some more? So, it's a Buddha activity is an enlightenment, which is a practice.


It's a practice. It's a way of activity, which is enlightenment. This morning, I brought out this large book. There's a book inside this nice wrapper. See the nice wrapper? So, here's the book. In English, it's called the Flower Adornment Scripture. This version of it, this English translation, is 1,600 pages, and in Sanskrit, it's called


the Avatamsaka Sutra. The sutra's about Buddha activity. Now, some people would like me to go through this sutra with them, which I would be happy to do, but I have some problems with that project, which if you ask me, I'll tell you about later. But for now, I just want to say, you saw the book, and this book has a really big influence


on what we call, what people call the Zen tradition, or the Zen school. It's very influential. Of course, the Heart Sutra is, too, and the Diamond Sutra, and the Heart Sutra and Diamond Sutra are kind of like in the background of this sutra. This sutra sort of comes forth from the teachings of the Heart of Great Perfect Wisdom scripture and the teaching of the Diamond of Perfect Wisdom. So those are perfect wisdom scriptures, and the style of that form of teaching is in the background of this form of teaching. This form of teaching is in accord with it, but it offers some positive antidote to the


negativity of the perfect wisdom scriptures. So the perfect wisdom scriptures teach form is emptiness, emptiness is form. They teach that all phenomena lack any kind of independent existence, but they also teach that phenomena and their ultimate truth, their emptiness, phenomena and their lack of any independent self-existence, that the lack of independent existence and the phenomena are non-dual. Phenomena and their ultimate nature are non-dual. The superficial way that things appear and the profound way they are beyond appearances,


they're non-dual. And the perfect wisdom scriptures make that point for the welfare of the world. And if we understood those teachings properly, we wouldn't need this scripture, I would say. But it's hard to understand them properly, so this scripture is given. In other words, the teaching that superficial and profound are phenomenal and the phenomena and the principle of all phenomena, which is emptiness, the fact that they're non-dual in these scriptures is the end of the story. But the Avatamsaka scripture says, well, it's not exactly the end of the story.


These two actually things that are not dual, they have a relationship. The ultimate truth and the conventional truth or provisional truth, they actually have a relationship, and this scripture tells us about the relationship. They're not just non-dual, they dance together, they talk together, they include each other, they interfuse each other, they pivot with each other, they pervade each other. So the Zen school is in accord with the perfect wisdom teachings, but it also receives a big influence from this flower dormant scripture in terms of the ultimate interfuses the relative


or the superficial and vice versa. So the thing, we talk about the Zen tradition, so now here we are, we could say that this temple is in some sense a temple that's in the Zen tradition, and one way of talking about tradition is that in a tradition you might imagine the past of the tradition, that the tradition has a past. It has some images or stories about itself, which the people in the present remember or


think about as part of the tradition. So just now I told you some stories about the Zen tradition being influenced in China by the perfect wisdom scriptures and also by this flower dormant scripture. Now in the flower dormant scripture, one of the main, some people might say the main teaching of the scripture is what I just talked about. It's the teaching that takes a step after the perfect wisdom. Perfect wisdom is form is emptiness. Emptiness is form. Form is not different from emptiness. Emptiness is not different from form.


Feelings are emptiness. Emptiness is feelings. Perceptions are emptiness. Emptiness is perception. Emotions are emptiness. Emptiness is emotions. Consciousness, and the consciousness meant there is the self-consciousness. The karmic consciousness is emptiness. Emptiness is karmic consciousness. The Avatamsaka scripture takes another step and says form is included in emptiness. Emptiness is included in form, not just equal and non-dual, but they're included in each other. You can see one in the other. So it's emphasizing the mirror-like quality of the Buddha mind. What's the Buddha mind? What's the Buddha mind? Form is emptiness.


Emptiness is form. That's Buddha mind. But that's also a mirror. There was an article in the, I think it was in the Oracle, Oracle newspaper or magazine that they had back in the 60s for Haight-Ashbury, the Oracle, and I think they had a little article on Suzuki Rishi in there one time, and they said, and they asked him, what's his main teaching? And he said, main teaching is form is emptiness. Emptiness is form. He actually didn't say that teaching very much at Zen Center. We chatted, you know, every day, but he didn't say that over and over. He talked about a lot of other stuff, but that's the one he told the people, you know,


the hippies, that's the one he told the hippies. So again, the Zen tradition totally agrees with that. We chant that every day. Form is emptiness. Emptiness is form. And the same is true of feelings, perceptions, formations, and consciousness. Okay? But we also chant, right in light there is darkness. Right in darkness there is light. Right in emptiness there's form. Right in form there's emptiness. So emptiness is a mirror for form, and form is a mirror for emptiness. So everything's a mirror.


Including ultimate truth is a mirror. And conventional truth is a mirror. This is part of the Zen tradition. Yes? Is form and emptiness, and emptiness-form, and form within emptiness, and emptiness within form, is that two different, are those different ways of looking at the same idea or phenomena? They're different, yeah. The second... I'm sorry. Go ahead. They're actually different. They're different, yeah. To point out that it's not just that they're non-dual, but they include each other, is a little different. It's a little cozier. It doesn't exclude the non-duality, but it's a mutually inclusive non-duality.


Don't you? So like you say, okay, ultimate truth is conventional truth, but the other one's saying, in the ultimate truth, within it, is the conventional. So we don't want to separate the two, that's good, but now we're also saying, in each one is the other one. So here's the ultimate. Here's the conventional. They're one, and they include each other. So, for example, you and I are non-dual. We're not separated. Ultimate truth and conventional truth are not separate. They're the same, really. And then one more step is, they include each other and are included in each other.


It's a little cozier. It also addresses, perhaps, other aspects of resistance to this teaching. Like, okay, I'm okay that we're not separate, but not that we include each other. Or I'm okay with me including you, but I'm not okay with me including you. You included in me. So various points of resisting Buddha activity. Resisting, in other words, being free of what our mind can do. Pardon? They're mirroring, yeah. So the perfect wisdom scriptures, I can hardly think of an example where they point out


that form and emptiness, that ultimate and conventional truth are mirroring each other. But in my memory, in my imagination of this tradition, mirrors, the image of mirrors are being used a lot to help people understand not only the teaching of the perfect wisdom tradition, but the teaching of this sutra. I was struck a little deeper during the last session we had just over the hill recently. I was struck by, I was more deeply struck that I can't see my face.


I cannot see my face. For example, if I look in a mirror, I see a face. But that's not my face. That's a reflection of my face. It's not my face. I can't see my face. If you take a picture of me, I can see the photograph. But that's not my face. That's a picture of my face. I can't see my face. It's impossible. I got that more deeply recently. I think we sometimes look in a mirror and we think, oh, that's my face. And sometimes we don't like it. Well, don't worry. It's not your face. I would just say it now for today, okay?


I will never be able to see the face that you see. I will never see it. But I can see, I can see the face before the face I will never see. I can see my original face. I can see my true face. Now, the face you see is not my original face. It's not my true face. But you don't see a reflection of my face. You see a reflection of life. Life. Life. Light. You see a reflection of light. You see light reflecting on my face. You don't see my face either. But in Zen, when I imagine our tradition, I imagine that in the Tang Dynasty, one of our ancestors, I think there's a painting of him on the wall around the corner,


one of our ancestors, who we call the sixth ancestor, he said to somebody who was chasing him and trying to get his robe from him, he said to that person, don't think good, don't think bad. What was your face before your parents were born? It's impossible for me to see the face after my parents were born. But I can see, with practice, the face before my parents were born, and you can too. That's part of our tradition. That story and the aspiration to see our original face.


During the Sashin, we brought up a story, and the story was about another ancestor. We brought up a traditional story, which could also be called a story of our tradition. Again, one of the stories of our tradition is that we tell stories. And so we enacted that story about our tradition by telling stories about our tradition. And one of the stories we told was about a person who lived towards the end of the Tang Dynasty in China. He lived from what we call, in the West, 807 to 869,


which arithmetic says is 62 years. He lived in China. And he had a number of great teachers. He lived at a time in China when you could walk around and meet numerous Buddhas, great Bodhisattvas. It was an amazing time. And he met a number of them, but the one he most appreciated was called Cloudy Cliff, Yunyan.


And he hung out with Yunyan for quite a while, and Yeah. And so there's stories about him and Yunyan. And today, I think I'm going to tell at least one. I may not be, I'm not in control here, so it may turn into six. I know quite a few stories about, isn't that amazing? I know quite a few stories about people who lived in the 9th century China and their conversations. So, they were having conversations, and one of their conversations was the student, who we call Deng Shan, Deng Shan, went to the teacher named Yunyan.


Did Tracy Apple come here this morning? Yes, she's right here. Oh, there she is. Hello. What are you doing up there? You're sitting? Are you just sitting by any chance? Okay, there she is. Tracy. I thought of Tracy because she said to me a while ago, what's with all these Chinese names? That's like, you know, that's similar to like when Little Red Riding Hood said to the wolf, Grandma, why are your eyes so big? And the wolf said, to see you better. Those names are significant. So you can see better. So, anyway, here's a student and a teacher having a conversation, and the student informs the teacher


that he's going to go away now. I don't have a story which says the teacher said to the student, you should go away now. The story I have in my mind is the student tells the teacher, I'm gone. However, I want to know a hundred years from now, which is a polite way to say when you're not around anymore. If someone asks me, how should I depict your teaching? Again, take a step back to the Avatamsaka Sutra. It teaches that ultimate truth includes conventional truth,


and conventional truth includes ultimate truth. Not only are they equal, they include each other, but it also goes on to say ultimate truth includes ultimate truth. That's not so surprising, right? But also conventional truth includes conventional truth. Or conventional truths include conventional truths. So, for example, a person is a conventional truth. So it says, not only does ultimate truth include conventional, not only does the profound include the superficial, but every being includes each other being. So I include each of I as a phenomena, the face of which I can never see.


I can see the phenomena of your face. And your face, the phenomena of it, is included in the phenomena of me. Everything about you is included in me. Everything about you is included in ultimate truth. Everything about ultimate truth is included in everything about you. But also everything about you is included in everything about me, and everything about me is included in everything about you. And also, it's not just you, it's all of you and beyond. That's another part of this sutra's teaching. The phenomena includes the principle, the principle includes the phenomena, phenomena include phenomena, and principle includes principle. And also, by the way,


you might not think that ultimate truth would hinder ultimate truth, that vast emptiness certainly wouldn't have any problem including vast emptiness, but the the phenomena include the phenomena with no hindrance. There's no obstruction in the way that you include all of us, that you include me, there's no obstruction. Whereas usually people feel there's some obstruction, and feeling the obstruction is suffering. In other words, I don't include that person, or I'm not included in that person. That's an example of not according with this teaching. So this teaching comes down to the nitty-gritty of each thing unhinderedly including each thing. That's the teaching along with form is emptiness, emptiness is form.


Form is not different from emptiness, emptiness is not different from form. Then take the next step. They include each other, they pervade each other, and it applies form and emptiness, but also form and form, emptiness and emptiness, feeling and feeling, okay, all that. Got the picture? That's the teaching. So the Dungsan says to his teacher, how should I characterize your teacher? You know, other than your teaching teacher, other than saying that it's the Avatamsaka Sutra. It's the Avatamsaka Sutra, it's the Heart Sutra, it's the Diamond Sutra, okay? Of course. But how should I characterize your teaching teacher? And Yuen Nguyen says, just this is. So in addition to the,


not in addition to, yeah, kind of in addition, or you could say flowering out of the flower adornment scripture is this teaching, just this is. And it might actually be in the Sutra somewhere, I don't know. Probably is. But even if it is, the teacher, Kali Cliff, pulls that one little phrase out of the Sutra and gives this kind of not very smart student a very simple version of 1600 pages. Three characters. Just this is. They usually translate it thus this is it. In other words, just this is is the teaching. So the teaching, it is just this is. That's the teaching of this particular teacher. I often have a problem


with the word just in this. You just gave us this huge amount of things being in and such and then you say just this is. It seems like just is almost the opposite of the hugeness. Yeah. It does seem like that. So it's saying just in other words make that super super super small and in the super super super small the whole universe is in there. That's what's being said. And that's another teaching in this scripture as each particle of each atom includes innumerable universes. Now it might not be surprising to you that a universe includes quite a few atoms.


But this teaching is saying each atom includes multiple universes. So that's just that's the just. OK. So then what is it? After receiving this teaching the disciple Dongshan enters into some kind of deep contemplation for a while. And then the teacher says OK. Now you've got you have it. OK. I gave it to you. So here's the transmission being acknowledged. They were doing transmission for quite a while before that. I don't know how long but less than a hundred years


because he only lived to be 62. So one year two years three years I don't know how long. I had about four years with Suzuki Roshi. That was great. I don't know how long they were together but they were together at yin-yang's place. And then the student's going to leave and the teacher says you've inherited it. You've inherited this big this great this great business this great tradition of just includes everything. And everything is included in just. So you must be thorough going. You've got to take care of this now.


This nice condensation of this limitless universe included in everything. And by the way just somewhat parenthetically I wanted we did a we recited a vow at the beginning of this session and I just thought I might mention to you that our true nature which is also the true nature of other people not just our true nature but the true nature of all beings has given rise to the aspiration to realize itself. The true nature of things is that the true nature wants to be


true nature includes true nature includes a wish a desire an aspiration to realize itself. And so it gives rise to these aspirations which then can be exercised and in exercising the aspiration of the true nature the true nature's realized. You got a true nature and your true nature has an aspiration to realize itself. Have you noticed that aspiration yet? It's there your true nature's got an aspiration and it all it wants is to realize itself and that's all it wants and realizing itself means your true nature is Buddha activity. Your wish your true nature is you're in the


you're in the middle of your true nature right now, right? Of course that's what we mean by true nature it's where you are now it's what you are now really and what you are now really has a wish in it there's a wish in what you are and the wish is to realize what you are and what you are is you're this process of liberating all beings that's what you are you and all the other beings are that process so the universe has a wish according to this teaching this tradition this is a tradition of telling stories and one of the stories is this tradition is the universe which has the nature of aspiring


to realize itself this is a tradition for the universe to realize itself that's what we're into we're into the universe realizing itself of course it's a big responsibility and now you have it so you must be going so that was that was their like their meeting their final meeting apparently their final meeting I didn't hear about any later meetings like yeah I heard about the earlier ones but no later ones so they actually separated and never saw each other again they never saw each other again they never saw each other again and I said that three times I think I said it three times because of the next story not the next story


the the next story after the next story the next story is that the student whose name is Tracy that's right did you say you copied copying is where it's at we're copying that's tradition is to copy the tradition to copy what you imagine it is Deng Xian walking across China now and China not everywhere but a lot of parts of China there's a lot of mountains all those people all those people packed into that country with a lot of mountains which makes things even more packed so when you go places you have to go you have to deal with mountains and so I I actually went to I'll tell you that later


Deng Xian actually went among those mountains and he came to a river and he saw the river and he looked into the river have you ever looked into a river and he looked into a river and he saw a reflection of his face and he understood just this is it and he was you know that was kind of that was like a really good thing for him that he understood his teacher's teaching before that he had heard it and he was carrying it with him for a long time and then he saw the reflection and he understood the teaching and then he made a wrote a poem he spoke a poem which goes you know goes something like this in English don't


seek it outside because if you do you'll stray away from it everywhere I go I meet it now I am not it in truth it is me you must see or we must see in this way in order to realize the way things are suchness now comes the next story so it's


oh by the way the part I what I postponed was that I once was in China and Jackie was there too anybody else on that trip here? Jackie and Judy and Scott these four people went to China for some reason and we were I saw them there I mean I saw their ancestors there I saw younger versions of them there and we went to this place in China where there was a river and there was a bridge over the river it was a little river you know you could at the time we were there you could walk you could stand in it it came up to your ankles or something maybe your knees anyway it wasn't a deep river it was more like a creek or a creek but not a crack


or a clock it was a little stream and there was a bridge and on the bridge there was a plaque which said where he encountered it Chinese try to architecturally back up these stories and a scholar was traveling with us and I said to the scholar how far is it from this place to where Dongshan said goodbye to his teacher and the scholar said 155 miles so he walked quite a while saw his picture saw his reflection had this awakening and then just up the hill I would say less than a thousand yards there's a monastery


and that's the monastery called Dongshan which he founded I think he found it as a result of seeing it yeah mm-hmm yep so we went to visit that place and I got some brown rice from there it's a between the river and the place there's a lot of rice fields so it's a monastery which which outside the main gate rice fields and so and so they collect the rice and I got rice from Dongshan brought back to America and I'm sorry I didn't give you any I ate it


anyway later he was he being Dongshan was at Dongshan and he was doing a memorial service for his teacher he couldn't see him anymore so he people who you love who you can't see anymore do memorial services for them like like also last week we did a memorial service for this teacher named Suzuki who I can't see anymore but I get to do memorial services for him I get to sit down and look up at his picture his picture is not him but I get to say thank you teacher and I get to wear a robe that he gave me it's really sweet to do memorial services for people who you can't see anymore


so he was doing one for his teacher and either before the ceremony or afterwards he told a story about his last meeting with his teacher who he doesn't get to see anymore but he does get to tell stories about the last time he saw him and part of the tradition is people getting together who like to hear people tell stories about people they can't see anymore or even people get together and people tell stories about people they never even saw but who are related to the people they did see so I can also tell stories about Suzuki's teacher and his teacher's teacher and her teacher's teacher I can tell a lot of stories about people I never saw which I'm very happy to do I get to tell stories


about these great people and you come here and listen to them it's amazing so he's telling a story about his teacher and in their last meeting where he asked him what the teaching was and after he finished telling the story one of the monks came and said what does the what was your what was the teacher's meaning when he said just this is reasonable question don't you think you told you told us your teacher's teaching what was what was the meaning of this teaching and Dongshan said at that time I nearly misunderstood my teacher brackets did he answer the question


did he tell him what it meant Justin says yes he said at that time I nearly misunderstood is that the meaning of it that he nearly misunderstood maybe Justin thinks so I guess at that time I nearly misunderstood and then the monk says well did did Claudio Cliff understand his teaching did he understand his own teaching himself and Dongshan said if he didn't actually the monk said did Dongshan did Yunyan know the meaning or not and then Dongshan said


if he didn't know how could he speak thus and if he didn't know how would he be willing to speak thus so here's the Avatamsaka Sutra right everything includes everything and is included by everything the universe is in the process of realizing itself through our aspiration which our aspirations are its aspiration just this is it if you know this how would you be willing to say it and if you don't know it how would you be willing to say it how could you say it


right there is again the Avatamsaka Sutra so here's the Avatamsaka Sutra Yunyan condenses it into just this is it then the monk says did he understand the monk says did he understand here's the Avatamsaka Sutra did he understand here's the Avatamsaka Sutra did he understand includes the whole universe at that time I nearly misunderstood my late teacher's meaning whole universe in that question Avatamsaka Sutra did the late teacher understand himself whole universe asking the whole universe as a question and then if he didn't or if you don't or if I don't


how can I say it how could I if I don't understand how could I how can I say okay if I don't understand how can I say just this is it today to you today I'm saying just this is just this is I'm saying that today if I don't understand that how could I say it on the other hand if I do understand it how could I be willing to say it as I think what is it Oliver Hardy used to do that I just thought there's a new there's a new version of it right isn't there a new one with with who Will Will Ferrell who's in it who's who are the actors


yeah I think it's Riley and Ferrell are playing Oliver Stan and Ollie yes Ollie I mean yeah Ollie I think it's Ollie and if you do understand it doesn't matter if you're willing to say it or not you're always speaking it very good now now just forget that okay because of the situation even I don't know what you want to call me something like even a adjective like me no no even a adjective person like me I include it


just like you do so I can say it I can say just this is even if I don't understand and so can you go ahead say it just this is yeah right some of you may not understand what you just said but you can still say it and you do because that's the kind of thing it is that's the kind of teaching it is and if you do even though it's kind of troublesome and you really don't need to say it you have to say it because everything you say is it sorry you can't avoid it well that's pretty much an introduction to what I wanted to say today and eventually maybe I'll get into actually the something interesting can I ask a question? well other people before you please sure okay just don't forget yourself


Katie Karen Katie, Karen I'm wondering if you have bring just this is back conversation with other people yeah, you just did you did it so I can do it, right? if you can do it I can do it because I include you thank you for bringing it back for me that was easy I didn't have that much effort to bring it back the you part of me did it anything more? it's already back you did so so you want to have original face with just this is it?


yeah so he's looking in the he's looking in the water and he he sees that's not me and then he sees in truth it is me in other words he sees his original face in the mirror his original face is that's not my face and it is my face that's my original face did you want to talk about original face? I did yeah, so there it is right, pivoting on this just this is it he's looking and seeing this is not it and in truth this is it that's the original face he saw he realized his original face by seeing what isn't just this is it and what is just in this and


because just this is it is not the full story of just this is it and just this is not my face is not the full story so right in that part of the story is the original face he didn't say original face but I would say he realized the original face because if he didn't realize the original face if he didn't how could he say it and if he didn't he could say it and if he and if he didn't if he did realize it he would be willing because he was got a little excited now what? well I guess I'm wondering going back to what you said earlier about original face is the face before your parents are born and I guess I'm wondering if that's a metaphor in terms of I mean I guess


part of me wondered why parents and not where your grandparents were born or before Jungshin was born or yeah I'm trying to understand that phrase of your face before your parents were born another way to say it is your face before any appearance before there's any appearance of your face your profound face before your superficial face well I'm just going back to Charlie oh I guess we're back to Karen yeah it's that's what it's doing obviously you're trying to understand


how it works yeah you are that's true that's what you're doing hmm? you just described what you're doing yes that was a description of what you're doing however what you're actually doing is beyond that description and you'll never be able to figure that out but you can figure you can you can figure out you know what you're doing just right there you can figure out what it is that you're trying to figure out but you can't actually see what you're doing and you won't be able to but you can continue trying to figure out or you can take a sabbatical from figuring out or instead of a sabbatical which is usually for a year you can maybe half a day you can just take a break from trying to figure out


but even if you're trying to figure out you're you're trying to figure out completely includes giving that up and realizing that you'll never figure out any of the things you're trying to figure out you never will be successful at seeing your face however you have another face which you're in the process of realizing but that doesn't get rid of the face that's trying to figure things out which you also can't see so you can't even you can't even figure out your face I can see a superficial you can't even see a superficial version of your face you can only see reflections of superficial versions of your face and you can also see superficial versions of your attempt to figure things out because even your figuring is not limited to what you think it is but you can go ahead


and do it or you can take a break and no you could and just see what's life just giving up trying to figure things out that's right that's already the case well I mean it doesn't go away until it goes away right now if you're figuring your figuring is included in the whole universe you know whatever Karin does it's it's totally included in the whole universe which means not just the the totality of the universe but every particle of it so all your figuring is included for example in all of us but all your figuring is included in every particle of the universe and you can go ahead and try to figure that out or you can read the Albert Tomes instead of taking a sabbatical you could go on a you could go on but on sabbatical sometimes you study something


so if you read the Albert Tomes Lack of Sutra and it keeps saying over and over in many different ways all your figuring is included in every particle of the universe you kind of start to say oh okay yeah and all your yeah so trippy all all the activities of all the hippies are included in every particle in the universe so go right ahead but also in order to realize that all the figurings of you and me and all the hippies are included in every particle of the universe and the whole universe is included in all of your figurings too in order to realize that it helps to consider the possibility of giving it a break why not because giving it a break is also included


so it's not pushing it away it's just like well you know I just think I'm just gonna like stop figuring things out for a little while here I'm gonna let that happen and when people start to consider letting that happen like at the yoga room the other night somebody thought about it and he got really scared what would happen to me if I gave it a break you know what would happen to me if I gave figuring things out a break now if you try to push away and eliminate figuring things out no fear there because that's what you're usually doing is trying to control the figuring but if you think about like just giving up the figuring then you might say well what about me and he got really scared which is I brought it up and it took a while for somebody to say that I thought somebody would be afraid


at the prospect of like giving up discrimination giving up figuring out that's like a major understatement the absolutely part is not an understatement but even absolutely doesn't even approach it none of the words we've got reach it it is inexpressibly ineffably the most marvelous the way the universe really is is marvelous beyond any words and no words reach it but it can talk the universe can talk and it can say stuff like just this is and it can say stuff like I'm trying to figure it out but it can also say you might consider taking a little break


and if that's too scary read the Avatamsaka Sutra and while you're reading it you will take a break as you read it you will notice somebody took a break you know I stopped trying to figure out how all these universes were included in each particle I actually just read it and gave up trying to figure out how this could be so and I even got into rather than figuring it out I thought well maybe so like I told this story one time in the Zen Do at city center about the world honored one walking along with a his group and in the group there are various celestial beings one of them Indra the sovereign of the gods and the world honored one pointed to the ground and said this is a good place to build a sanctuary and Indra took a


blade of grass and stuck it in the ground and said the sanctuary is built and the person was listening to that and he said you know kind of like he thought kind of give me a break but then he thought why not maybe you know that could be as true as what I think is true so I don't want I'm not I'm not asking anybody to give up figuring it out but I also say now that you mentioned it to me I thought I might mention to you you could give that a break or you could give it to me give me your figurines I'll take care of them for a while for you and you can just be figuring free for a little while but not by pushing it away but by giving it away and that would lead you to actually understand what this teaching is which you already do but you don't get it so we need training so again the Avatamsaka Sutra says


chapter 37 the manifestation of the Buddhas the Buddha says now I see Buddha wakes up Buddha didn't see this before Buddha woke up the Buddha activity wasn't done with Buddha until a certain point and then when the Buddha activity came to maturity which it does the Buddha said now I see what? what do you see Buddha? now I see that all living beings fully possess the wisdom and virtues of the Buddhas which is all living beings include all living beings and are included in all living beings and all living beings are this process of liberating all beings they all include this wisdom which is the activity of liberating beings everybody is includes


the process and is included in the process the Buddha woke up and saw everybody is including this everybody is an example of this and everybody is including everybody else's being included now I see it the Buddha said in other words just this is it this is it however however however because of misconceptions and attachments they don't see it they don't realize it so I got a job on my hands is to get them to open to this one of the ways to open it just consider letting go of figuring just let go of discriminations let go of trying to get anywhere or get anything yes is that part of what just this is


is saying is that it's just this is it's not your ideas about just this is that is part of it yes so you're going away from me but by the way just this is it you don't have to go anywhere however every step of the way between here and where you wind up and see and see your reflection and where Rev. Anderson is going to come and meet you after twelve hundred years every step of the way is also just this is it so he's doing just this is it he's carrying the teaching just this is it he's carrying the Avatamsaka Sutra right every step of the way and then he everything comes together for the moment and then he can build a monastery right nearby


so are you pointing to someone? Charlie again? wow pardon? not recently not recently yes did you say did you say in Zen practice we are into into differentiations or discriminations? we are the we are we honor oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah we honor well the traditional Zen practice honors discrimination traditional Zen practice honors figuring things out and when you honor


figuring things out wholeheartedly you give them a break when you honor discriminations wholeheartedly you give it a break but as Suzuki Roshi said honoring discriminations is called non-discrimination you don't just honor these discriminations or those you honor all and then that's the practice of non-discrimination fully entering it yeah and also being fully entered by but again if you think about wholeheartedly honoring discriminations then you might suddenly become quite frightened of what will happen to you if you if you live like that what would happen to me if I fully honored


all the discriminations would I still be here or would I I think the person in that case said it seems like the whole thing would just collapse Rick how do we feel how do we treat our our own delusions does that mean that we shouldn't be trying to get rid of them which is another delusion but at Zen Center people are trying to get rid of their own and they think that that's not one of them so if I'm trying to get rid of my delusions I want to honor that one if I'm trying to prove that mine are not delusions


that's another one if I'm trying to prove that mine are not delusions but actually reality that's another delusion if I'm trying to prove that yours are wrong that's another delusion I don't have to prove anybody's delusions are wrong that's already been taken care of I don't need to add anything to it it's perfectly accomplished my job is to is to honor everybody's delusions which is pretty much honor everybody and honor mine by fully honoring the delusions are liberated so a key training thing is in the process of liberating us from delusion is to be compassionate to all delusions which is basically short for being compassionate to everything because all delusions


are calling for compassion because they want to be liberated from being stuck because delusions often are stuck in delusion and they don't realize that they include wisdom and that they're included in wisdom but if we don't honor our delusions it's okay to honor wisdom too by the way we do honor prajnaparamita we do honor perfect wisdom homage to the perfection of wisdom the lovely the holy we sing praises of perfection of wisdom great and we will continue won't we but also Zen is about honoring delusion respecting it not exactly worshipping it but almost like worshipping it because all delusions are potential dharmadors but if you don't love


I mean not like but fully love of delusion the dharmador of that delusion won't open because the delusion includes wisdom all delusions include wisdom and all wisdom includes delusion and the wisdom knows the delusion as delusion and the delusion thinks the delusion is truth okay well as I said this is an introduction to a talk that I'll give someday but it's been going on for pretty long so maybe we should have lunch right lunch is lunch is what is that it's another thing to honor and if we honor lunch we will discover just this is it