Names of Buddha: Book 6 of the Flower Adornment Scripture

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.

AI Suggested Keywords:


A talk given to the No Abode Community on May 11th, 2024.



AI Summary: 

This talk focuses on exploring Book 6, "Names of Buddha," from the Flower Adornment Scripture (Avatamsaka Sutra), emphasizing the vastness of Buddha's names and their significance in understanding and enacting Buddhist teachings. It elaborates on the live performance of these teachings through daily interactions and traditional Zen practices.

- **Primary Text Discussed**: Flower Adornment Scripture (Avatamsaka Sutra), particularly Book 6 "Names of Buddha."
- **Other References**:
- "Book of Serenity"
- "Blue Cliff Record"

The discussion highlights the interplay between the literal text, often people think of as a mere collection of names, and the Zen performance of life itself where each interaction reenacts these teachings. It uses the example of Master Ma, illustrating how a name encapsulates deeper connections to the teachings. The narrative extends into how Zen practitioners incorporate these teachings into life, viewing every moment and every interaction as a chance to embody the Buddha's teachings.

AI Suggested Title: "Enacting Buddha: Names and Practices in Zen"


As you may remember, a moment ago, we chanted that if we can maintain the Buddha Dharma, then the whole earth and all living beings will attain the Buddha way. The point of receiving and taking care of the Buddhist teaching is so that the whole earth and all living beings can attain awakening, freedom, peace, and the ability to help all other beings do the same. That's what we're here for, is to take care of the teaching so that all beings can be awake and free and at peace and be able to care for the whole earth and all living beings.


We're devoted to the whole earth, animate and inanimate, all living beings. That's why we have teachings given, for the sake of that. And there's quite a few new people here who have not been here before, and I just wanted to let you know that for the last ten months, we've been paying our respects. We have been meditating on a great scripture, which in Sanskrit is called avatamsaka, which means brightness everywhere, Buddha's wisdom everywhere. And the Chinese translation of that sutra is hua yin jing, which means the scripture


of the flower adornment of the Buddhas. So we've been meditating on this great teaching for ten months. And last time, we had an online event on the 27th of April, and on that online event I gave a little overview of what we've been doing here in this temple for ten months. So if you want to get an overview of the last ten months and the parts of the sutra we have dealt with, that can be seen online, April 27th. So I would like to set the table now for the teaching, and I wanted to note that last time


we were here, I thought we could move on and look at book six of this great scripture. In my memory, we have not, in this assembly, we have not contemplated the sixth book of the scripture. The scripture has how many chapters, how many books are in the scripture? Did you say 39? Yeah, that's right, 39. There are other versions of this scripture which are smaller. This is the biggest version of this scripture. It has 39 chapters. The last chapter is 400 pages. So it's a very big scripture.


This translation is about 1,500 pages. We have another translation which is 2,600 pages. It's the same sutra, but somewhat different source text. So it's a very large scripture, and as one of my teachers said, because it's so large and so complete and so thoroughly describes the life of the enlightening beings, the life of the Bodhisattvas, because it's so great and complete, nobody reads it. I don't know if the reason nobody reads it is because it's so great, but that's a good theory. It's so big nobody even tries. And so ten months ago, we got over that and we started reading it in various venues, this being one of them.


But there's many other assemblies where we've been looking at this scripture. And so today, again, I thought we might look at book, do you remember what number? Six. Six. And what's the name of the sixth book? What's the name of the sixth book? It's the Names of Buddha. The book's called Names of Buddha. It's not a real long chapter, but it's full of many, many names of Buddha. And in this scripture, the names of Buddha, people say, you know, what's in a name, right? Not that interesting to just listen to lots of names. Anyway, these names are given over in different venues, the names are given. And after the names are given, the refrain is, we said we gave some names now, but there


are four quadrillion other names we could give for Buddha. Whatever name we give to Buddha, like Buddha, that's one of the names of Buddha. Another name for Buddha is World Honored One. Another name for Buddha is Tamer of Humans and Divinities. Another name is Conqueror. Another name is The Scum One. There's ten basic names to Buddha, but those ten are just a drop in the ocean of names of Buddha. Other names of Buddha could be Angela, that could be a name of Buddha. It's not in the scripture, but the scripture does mention, after listening to lots of names, it says there are four quadrillion other names that could be given, and then it gives a whole bunch more, and then it says there are four quadrillion others.


So Angela certainly is included in the many times four quadrillion. All of your names could be in the scripture of names of Buddha. So part of what we're trying to do here is look at the scripture and see how the scripture relates to our traditional practice of so-called Zen, and also how the scriptures are actually enacted, dramatically enacted, theatrically performed. So the Zen tradition to some extent is a tradition of people who are performing the scripture in their daily interactions with each other, and their nightly interactions with each other.


The Zen literature could be seen as many, many wonderful performances of this scripture, and in particular could be seen as performances of the chapter called Names of Buddha. Are you following me? So actually we did do a performance here earlier. We performed saying our name and having our name said by others. That's a performance of chapter six. That's a performance of the Names of Buddha. And by performing that chapter we bring this great originally Indian scripture, we bring it to life. We brought it to life. We're bringing it to life. It's not just a book sitting there with an independent life of our own.


This scripture is living with us. It is for the purpose of us living with it. The purpose of this is that we perform it. We perform the teachings, the vast teachings. And again, the vast teachings given in 2,600 pages, but over and over the vast teachings that are given, after they give them they say, what we have given is just a drop of water in the ocean of the teachings that could be given. The number of times it repeats that is larger than many scriptures. So we're just doing a little tiny performance here today. And also in chapter six, after giving many names for all Buddhas and saying after giving them there are four quadrillion others, it also says that the purpose of giving these


names is so that people can understand what Buddha is in various ways. So we're giving all these different names so that we can understand what awakening is. So we're receiving these names and then we can use these names as kind of material for our dramatic performance of the Buddha body, which the sutra said pervades all of our performances. So we're performing all day long, but now we can make our performance the performance of this scripture, of the names of Buddha, so that we can understand and so that all beings in the great earth can attain the Buddha way.


I also mentioned not too long ago, and Linda was very happy to hear this, among others, that we have these large collections of Zen stories, and two of the main collections of Zen stories that we take care of and transmit, two of them, the two kind of main sub-compendiums. So there's a very large record of stories, which has thousands and thousands of stories, but then there's a reduced version of the thousands of Zen stories in terms of two great collections of 100 main cases. And I propose that we can look at these cases, especially one of the books, as examples of dramatic performance of the scripture.


So the two collections are the Book of Serenity, and the other collection is the Blue Cliff Record. And for me, the Book of Serenity is easier for me to discover the sutra in those stories. The other, I kind of, I'm wishing that I will be able to find the teaching of this sutra in all the hundred cases of the Book of, the Blue Cliff Record also. And of course, I'm laughing because I said, of course, but you don't know why, of course. I say, of course, because there's a lot of repetition, the two collections share cases. So the story I'm going to bring up today is a story which is in both cases.


So in that way, I will be able to find, I feel, and you will be able to join me to find what? To find the teaching of this sutra in the Zen stories and see how the Zen stories help us bring the chapter, kind of boring chapter, because it's just all these names one after another. And if you just read it, it's maybe kind of like reading the telephone book. But if this, but the sutra says, now I say the sutra says, I mean, it doesn't really say what I'm about to say. But it allows for what I must say. Because whatever it says, it says, this is just a drop in the ocean. So I'm going to tell you some stuff that's in the ocean that's not in the sutra. And what I'm going to tell you is that if you read, telephone books are not so popular anymore, right? But they used to, we used to have telephone books. And if you read the telephone books, and you read them and you read them, you will eventually


find the sutra in the telephone book. And if you read the parts of the sutra which seem like a telephone book, particularly Chapter 6, it's a list of names. It doesn't have the addresses or the telephone number. Their names actually are where you can find who they are and where they live and what their telephone number is. It's all there in their name. If you, the sutra is saying, if you deeply study the name of anybody, you will discover this sutra is completely there. And the sutra says that that's the case. But it also says you have to go into that one name to find all the names and all the sutras in one name.


And this applies to everything. We're talking about names now. So the story is that one of our most esteemed, one of our most venerated Zen ancestors, his name was Master Ma, which means horse, Ma is horse, yeah, and Tsu, Ma Tsu is teacher, so horse teacher, so a Zen teacher, very, very, very successful teacher. He made lots and lots, he helped many, many bodhisattvas be born and grow up to be Buddhas.


What's his name again? Master Ma, horse master. Master Ma, I believe, was born in 800 and lived to 888. I think, I'll check it later, but I think that's his dates. It's, yeah, it's nicely situated in the Tang Dynasty. Did I mention these are Chinese stories, right? Chinese Zen masters, historically we say Zen was born and grew up in China and then it spread to the whole universe. For example, the Korean part of the universe, the Vietnamese part of the universe, the Japanese


part of the universe, the California part of the universe, the Finnish part of the universe, the Russian part of the universe. Russia is kind of close to China. Anyway, this teaching spread from India, and Ma Tsu was a big part of it. Okay, and his name is Ma Tsu, and if we study, I've been studying Ma Tsu for a while. I'm laughing because, yeah, I've been studying Ma Tsu for more than 50 years. I don't know if I'll be able to study Ma Tsu as long as he lived. I don't know if I'll be able to study Ma Tsu for 88 years, but I would be happy to do so


if I could actually contemplate his teachings. I'd be happy to stay around and do that. Having a feeling for Master Ma, a very great Bodhisattva. And he was the kind of Bodhisattva who might be called a human, as opposed to a cherry blossom tree. A human Bodhisattva. And humans, as you may have noticed, have a tendency to die. You heard about that? Humans are kind of like, almost like destined to die. Part of this being born thing is the dying thing.


And cherry blossom trees do that too. So the human Bodhisattvas and the tree Bodhisattvas, they're actually born and they pass away. And for some humans, they live a long time, so before they pass away, they go through this process called being old, and then being older, and then older, and sicker and older and sicker. So those who live a long time don't just die, they get old first. Some people die when they're little, when they're in the prime of their life, when they seem to be growing and growing and growing rather than shrinking and shrinking and shrinking. Like at the beginning of the day, my dear attendant said, are you losing weight? Are you shrinking? And then he said recently, I said, no, I've been shrinking for a while.


And I don't know how much longer this shrinking is going to go on, but probably there will be further shrinking going on for this human. This human will probably continue to shrink unless he dies today. But some of you have asked me not to die today, so I'll try to make it through the rest of the day. So once again, the people who live to be 80 or 88, they go through an aging process and a sickness process too, maybe. Not all of them. Some die really healthy. Their heart just stops, but they're really healthy and really old. Master Ma was really healthy and really old. He was 88 and he had been feeling quite ill, seriously ill, as in on the verge of death


ill, 88, great teacher, 88. And the director of the monastery he lived in, and his monastery was a big monastery, it took an hour to ride around it at night to turn the lights off, took an hour to go around it on horseback, because at night they go out and put the torches out in the towns and in the monasteries. It was a really big monastery. At the center of it is this old bodhisattva who is seriously ill, and the director of this vast complex comes to the teacher and said, Teacher, how is your venerable health these days? And he said, Sun-Face Buddha, Moon-Face Buddha.


He said the names of two Buddhas. Now those names, as far as I've been able to find, are not in Chapter 6. But Chapter 6 certainly allows space for them, four quadrillion other possibilities. However these names do appear in another scripture, and that scripture, the whole scripture, is called The Names of Buddha. So maybe Master Ma read that scripture and he learned about these Buddha names, and then when the director says, How is your health? He brought up those two names from this larger storehouse of many, many names of Buddha. He brought two up. What did he bring them up for? Well he brought them up to relate to a person who is asking him how he is.


He uses the name to help us understand his condition, and he uses these names to help us understand our condition. And those names come from a scripture of Buddha names. So these Buddha names are available for us to use to help people understand what their life is. And maybe it helps to say a little bit more about these two Buddhas, these two Buddha names. A sun-faced Buddha is the name of a Buddha who lives one day and one night. That's what the... Did I say... What did I say? Sun? Wrong. Moon. Moon-faced Buddha lives one day and one night.


Sun-faced Buddha lives 18,000 days, years. In the day and the night of 18,000 years, that's how long sun-faced Buddha lives. What is Master Ma's condition? It's sun-faced, moon-faced. He's not just sun-faced. You're not just sun-faced. He's not just moon-faced. You're not just moon-faced. And not only are you not just sun-faced or moon-faced, you are the interaction between sun-faced and moon-faced. Really we are the interaction between sun-faced Buddha, Buddha for today, and virtually infinite Buddha.


We are the interaction between them. In that way, we're just like Master Ma. Although we might not die today, and he did die that day, we're basically in the same situation. We are sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha interacting. We are a temporary, fleeting life, and we are an eternal, infinite light. That's what we are, according to, I would say, Master Ma taught us that. So, this story is brought up, it's quite a short story.


The superintendent, the director, asks the great teacher, how is your venerable health? The great teacher says, sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha. Very short, simple story. But in this response, sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha, and in that interaction is the actual life of all beings in that interaction. And after quoting the story, there's some commentary, like I'm doing, and then comes a verse. In both collections, there's verses which celebrate and help us understand what? Help us understand sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha. Not quite, not very long verses. And both the poets are, those two poets are perhaps the two most appreciated Zen poets


in China. So in the Book of Serenity, the person who collected the cases and chose that case, in the Blue Cliff Record, the person who collected those cases, and he made sun-faced Buddha number three in his collection. So after, originally, after presenting this story, he also presented a verse. Do you want to hear the verse? The verse is, sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha. The poet is celebrating Matsu's teaching by repeating it. But now it's a verse. It's not just an ordinary human conversation, it has become poetry.


And he, I would say, he sung this, he shouted this, he shouted, I'm not going to shout because I don't want to shock you too much, sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha. We don't have explanation marks like we do in our thing, but there is kind of an explanation mark after sun-faced Buddha and after moon-faced Buddha. He is praising this saying of the teacher, and indirectly praising the teacher who gave us sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha. And the poet offers another line, which is, compared with these, sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha, compared with these, or compared with this, the ancient sages of China and the ancient


emperors of China are pale. So the poet seems to say that this sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha is not pale, it is full of red blood cells. It's very alive. And I must admit, I don't have to, but I'm going to admit that I didn't see much of the life, of the redness of sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha, when I first ran into it quite a while ago. But I have gradually started to open to how unpale sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha is. And the ancient teacher celebrates sun-faced Buddha by saying, the ancient sages of China


and the ancient emperors, they're really pale compared to Matsu's teaching, and the interaction of this teaching. And then he says, the poet says, for 20 years I have struggled bitterly. How many times have I gone down into the Green Dragon Cave for you? And then he says, clear-eyed, patchwork monks should not take this lightly. Take what lightly? Sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha. In other words, I think some people like me do take it lightly.


And he was saying, no, [...] don't take this sun-faced Buddha lightly, and if you do take it lightly, you're going to have to struggle bitterly for 20 years or more. Because I'm pretty smart, you may take longer to struggle with sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha, to understand what Master Maha is teaching. And it may not be so easy to realize the fullness of his teaching. Clear-eyed, patchwork monks should not take this lightly. And if you do, like I did, and I'm him, I'm him and I'm him, I'm this person and I'm an ancient Zen poet. I think we did take it lightly for 20 years, and therefore we had to go down in the Green


Dragon Cave. What's in the Green Dragon Cave? Well maybe there's a dragon in there, and it's green. Go down into the cave, and what's in the cave? Well in the cave, there's this sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha in the cave. And they are like a massive fire, and it's kind of difficult to deal with the massive fire, sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha. Maybe today we will get a glimpse of that fire, and then you may feel, it's kind of difficult to stay with this sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha fire. Just can I take a break and, you know, have lunch? Yeah, you can take a break.


Someone said to me just a little while ago, back in that room there, by the way the name of that room is Treasury of Light, right? The name of that room is Treasury of Light. Somebody came into the Treasury of Light room and said something like, I'd like to take a pause, and I think the person was taking a pause in dealing with this fire, the fire of sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha, the fire of birth and death, and no birth and no death. That's a big fire, it's big, and if you're dealing with it, you might want to take a little pause. And when the person said, I'd like to take a pause, brackets, dealing with birth and death, I thought, that's the name of one of the most unique and outrageous Zen masters


in China. His name was Yi Qiu, which means a break or a pause, a break and a pause. He was like a big break and a pause in the midst of birth and death, in the midst of these Zen stories. So we're born, we die, and in between we can take a little pause to look at what's going on. So this is an example of an ancient Zen teacher who used the names of Buddha to help us understand who he was and what his teaching was. He didn't just say sun-faced Buddha, he didn't just say, well, my condition is eternal Buddha.


My condition is temporary Buddha and eternal Buddha. That's my condition. Since you asked, I'm telling you, and on now, bye-bye. One might be tempted to say that when people come to see you at the end and say, how is your venerable health these days, you might want to say, maybe I, could I copy Matsu? They may say, no, no, I can't, I just can't copy him. But I could say, you're asking me how my condition is here? I would say, I'm not going to copy Master Ma. That's as far as I'm going to go. That's my condition. And now things have changed and now I'm going to be, now I'm going to say what Master Ma said, now that I passed on that. So this is an example of the Zen tradition dramatically enacting the teaching of this


sutra. The teacher and the director dramatically interacting to bring forth this teaching. And if you are interested, you can spend 20 years studying this conversation, which apparently the poet did spend 20 years trying to understand what sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha is really about. Some of you might have 20 or more years to devote to this teaching. I probably don't. Unfortunately, I started a while ago, so it's okay. I have been struggling with it and I'm very happy to tell you about my 20 years of struggle. I've been enjoying going down into the Green Dragon Cave and warming my body and mind in


the great fire of the teaching. Some of you may not be surprised to hear me say that sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha is an expression of the teaching of suchness, which is the teaching of this sutra, which is the teaching of our school. The teaching of our school is the teaching thus, and the conversation is teaching thus. Now we've been going on for a while.


I've been talking, you've been listening, it's been quite a while, and I feel like the next story about this conversation between Matsu and the director, the next story probably should wait perhaps till this afternoon. The name of the story is the same. Actually, the name of the story is, Master Ma is Unwell. That's the name of the story. And the teaching of the story is the same teaching, and then there's also a verse celebrating the teaching. But I think maybe that I've given you enough for a lifetime, or at least for 20 years. But this gift is just for the sake of the interaction that we have from now on.


It's just more material for our conversation, which is the teaching of the sutra. Our conversation is performing the sutra. If we don't perform the sutra, the sutra is crying out in pain, Don't miss out on me. I'm here for you. You guys got to, but you need to, you need to dramatically enact it, otherwise you're going to miss out on me. I'm the greatest. Perform me. We have been. Now we shall continue. I pray that we continue dramatically enacting Matsu's teaching, which is dramatically enacting the teaching of the flower adornment scripture. And part of the conversation can be saying how you feel, and also part of the conversation can be asking questions about this ungraspable, all-pervading teaching.


I wish to support you in this difficult work, and I wish to continue the difficult work with your support. By your support, I've been studying this for a while. And with your support, I hope to continue. But I also support you to study. Yes? I was trying to thread the two teachings, the sun phase and the moon phase. By the way, thank you for explaining it, finally, I'm taking this class with you. Years and years ago, Master Ma never mentioned that the sun phase was eternal and emptiness of matter, and moon phase is temporary or conventional, or conventional life and the


interaction. Yeah, there's another working of it. She took it to another room, which is, it wants you to take it there. Thank you. That's another example of taking this teaching into your daily life, what you just thought, what you just expressed. Thank you. There is one more thing. How's the volume now? Perfect. It's going into the cave, and the green dragon, and all the other verbiage that you mentioned. What is that relative to moon phase and sun phase? Part of performing this teaching is to perform it in a particular place at a particular time. So, the place that's being talked about where we study this teaching, you could say, is


like the cave of a dragon. So, one might say that if one grew up in a culture where people are quite familiar with the great function of dragons. So, in China, dragons are generally positive, and dragons also often are protecting a jewel, which is sometimes called the dragon jewel. And sometimes when you talk about the dragon who protects the dragon jewel, you might specify the color of the dragon. Like, is it a silver one? A red one? A green one? A blue one? In this case, it's a green one, which is Green Gulch Farm, right? It's Green Dragon Temple. But there could be a red, there probably are lots of red dragon temples in China, too. So, this cave of the green dragon comes from the environment of Chinese civilization, where, again, if you go into a lot of Zen temples, look up in the ceiling, there's dragons up there.


So, part of the metaphor or imagery of Soto Zen, of Rinzai Zen, of all the Zen schools, part of it is, we work with dragons, and we go into their cave, where they're taking care of the jewels, and for example, the jewel of Sun-Face Buddha, Moon-Face Buddha. Yeah, but there's a, I've been going there with you, is what you said. It's with you, but it's also for you. In other words, I don't go into the green dragon cave just for me. It's too scary for me to go into that cave. Not, you know, there's a fire in the cave, too. There's a dragon and fire. I've heard the dragon's friendly, but who knows? Anyway, I go into this cave not just for me.


I go into the cave for Master Ma. I go into the cave of his teaching, even though it's difficult, for him, but also for you, who are reading this verse. I'm doing this for all of China, and it's bitter, it's a bitter struggle to go into the depths of this teaching. Does that make some sense to you? The way it made sense to me, and please correct me, is that the teacher goes with the student into the cave of suffering. Yes, but in this case, I think it's more that the student goes into the cave with the teacher. Right. It's more emphasizing that he's talking from the side of me being the student, and I'm going into the cave with Matsu, he's coming with me. But I'm having a hard time, I'm not yet comfortable living with this fire.


I'm not comfortable, I'm not open to how deep this teaching is, but I'm going to keep going back until I finally realize. So it's the teacher does go with the student into the cave, yes, and the student, but it's kind of easy for the teacher because the teacher has totally got no other things to do. All the teacher can do is go into Green Dragon Caves with people. But the students might think, I don't have to go in Green Dragon Cave. It's a problem space. It's a space of dealing with a problem, I don't want to go there. And the teacher is with them when they say that, say, OK, you don't have to go now, but let me know when you want to go and I'll go with you. Because it is kind of a challenging space of dealing with sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha. That's a very challenging world of reality.


So yes, the teacher will go with us, but we have to also say, OK, all right, out of respect for the teacher and also from my compassion for all beings, I will go into the cave over and over for you. Just like you came here. This is a kind of Green Dragon Cave. But you don't come here just for yourself. You come here for the ancestors like Suzuki Roshi and Master Ma. You come here to repay their kindness, but also you come for the sake of the whole assembly. And the Buddhas are with you and supporting you to do the difficult work of dealing with these people, intimately. The way this teaching was appearing for me,


when I talked with it, I was warm, too warm and so sleepy. So my eyes keep getting pulled in the moon-faced direction. But then I have some attention to hear the teaching. I have this greed. That's what I'm here for, to hear this teaching. And so we're going back and forth. The eyes are dropping closed. I said, OK, this is just the way it's happening now. That's what's going on. It was fun. I mean, actually, it was a little painful. A little bitter. A little bitter, a little hard.


Now I'm talking, I wake myself up. Thank you. That's a lovely example of the dragon's cave, where we try to sit in meditation, but we're kind of hot and sleepy. So it's kind of a struggle to stay awake and contemplate the teaching when we're hot and sleepy. It's kind of a bitter struggle between wholehearted contemplation of the teaching and wholehearted sleepiness. And kind of hot. Maybe I'll take my robe off. Anyway, this is kind of a bitter struggle that he went through here for you. And he was contemplating the teaching of the sutra that the Buddha's wisdom reaches everywhere, including him who is sleepy. The sutra is saying that the Buddha's wisdom, the Buddha body, extends to your sleepiness.


And not only your sleepiness, but you're feeling kind of uncomfortable about sleeping in public in a meditation hall. So a lot of people, they have a hard time being sleepy. Now, those who go to sleep don't have such a hard time anymore. But the sleepy ones who are trying to stay awake, it's kind of hard to stay awake when you're not sleepy. It's not so difficult. When you're sleepy, it's kind of hard to stay awake. And then, of course, we have this thing called Chinese torture, right? It's not that excruciating in one moment to be sleepy and try to stay awake. But over and over, it gets quite bitter. A lot of Zen students are trying to stay awake in meditation and having a hard time. So we tell them, Oh, that's quite common, you have a lot of companions.


We know it's difficult, but the teacher is with you when you're struggling to stay awake in meditation. Thank you. Homa? Actually, I'm questioning your offering for being light or being, I guess, light with sleepiness. Being light? Light with sleepiness. Yeah, so being light. So I don't want to take the sleepiness lightly, but I want to be gentle and upright with the tendency to be inclined or reclined. So I want to be relaxed with this hard job, not take it lightly.


I do want to do this job called being awake. Even when I'm sleepy, I do want to do it, but also I want to do it in a relaxed way because if I'm sleepy and then I'm rough with myself, I'll go to sleep more quickly. Because it adds stress to the sleepiness, it adds awakeness stress, it adds more if you try to get rid of it. So I'm not taking it lightly in the sense of not honoring it. I'm taking it lightly in the sense of welcoming it, of being generous towards the sleepiness and the wakeness and the struggle between the two. Does that practice that you mentioned, which is the welcoming, does the practice of welcoming allow you to be in the suchness?


Yes. Welcoming sleepiness, welcoming bitterness, welcoming fear, welcoming self-righteousness, welcoming whatever opens us to ... to thus. You know, it's very easy to get bored with the teaching of thus. What's the teaching? Thus. Yes? I'd like to say how I was receiving and translating this teaching so I could make it alive for myself. You mean, after you received it, you tried to do something with it? I did, but I was trying to understand it so that I could be used by it and use it. Anyway, I was thinking, or what came to my mind was the karma of body speech and mind


and this sun face and moon face, like just blurting something out and then kind of not appreciating the repercussions, kind of that quick thing you might say or do, you might have the ripple effect of it. And to stay awake in the middle of how we're speaking, how I'm speaking or conducting, is like, you know, every moment is like sun face, moon face Buddha. Maybe I just made that too small, I don't know. To say every moment is sun face Buddha, moon face Buddha? Yeah. I don't think that ... I think that's making it huge, because you said every moment. Yeah. You just said that this is going on for the entire past and unlimited future. Yeah, it was kind of frightening actually. Yeah. Or awakening. Okay, frightening, yeah. And so then what do you want to do with this? Wait with the fear.


Sun face Buddha. You could just ... well, you can welcome it. Yeah, welcome it. Yeah, and then the next one comes. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You could say turning it into now, or you could say letting it turn into now. I wish that Matsu's story in 988 ... no, 888. Oh, I got it wrong. It's 988, not 888. 988. He was born in 900 and lived to 988. So turning 988 into the present is what is being recommended


by the story and by those who are bringing the story to us. They want us to turn that ancient story into now. They want us to enter the turning between, not even to make it now, but enter the way that is turning into now. I think this is true. This is true. I also heard that he lived during the time of the Shonan Rebellion. And that ... I was thinking about it now. We're living in this dynamic time now, and that one in three people were dying. So it's just a very ... Yeah, he lived during times when there were terrible wars going on. Yes. And this was what ... and this is what he taught in those times.


Now's a good time to cry. Almost any time is a good time to cry. Okay. Yes and yes. Yes. So I heard you ... First of all, thanks for the lively presentation. I heard you say that we need to go in the cave. Yeah. But doesn't the Han supersede all the teachings he could give us? Yes. When it says, carefully listen, everyone. Great is the matter of life and death, birth and death. Time passes swiftly. Opportunity is lost. Awake, awake. When you hear that, if you'd like to take a pause, it says, don't waste time. When you hear that, taking a pause could be part of your not wasting time.


Like, okay, I hear it, I don't want to waste time, and I'm going to take a little pause from that and get my shoes on. And then I'll be ready to jump into awake, awake. But if you're not allowed to be the person who needs a little bit more time before embarking on this pilgrimage, then that's undermining your ability to be really ready for it. You have to recognize, I need a little bit more time. Like, I'd like to do an inhale before I jump. And you might even say, is it okay, could I have a moment here before I jump? And the ancestor might say, fine. But they might say, no, we'll see. But it's fine to ask. I think I'll be ready in a minute. May I have a minute? That can be part of not wasting time. Really, whoever you are, the way you actually are appearing,


honoring that is part of the admission to awake, awake. I was interested that you said the word performance. Rather than saying something, it's performing it. And how we perform our means before this session. And I was just thinking, why do you do that? Is it because you are saying the name of the Buddha, or is it like something like we get to know each other better? Or is it because you have the feeling of that? I guess I have the thought that it's necessary for us to make our life the performance of the conversation


that's going on in all these stories. For our life to be the performance of this sutra. For example, last time we talked about another case where the Buddha pointed to the ground and said, this is a good place to build a sanctuary. So that can be performed by you, wherever you are, pointing to where you are and say, this is a good place for a sanctuary. Without performing that teaching, you are not doing what the teaching... The teaching was a performance. The Buddha was performing the sutra when the Buddha pointed to the ground. Because the sutra says, any place is a good place for Buddhas. As a matter of fact, every place already includes innumerable Buddhas. So now we are going to perform that teaching by being very... not taking this occasion lightly,


but also not taking it heavily. Taking it in a balanced way to make every moment an enactment of the sutra, which is saying, this is a holy place, a sacred place where we enshrine awakening. Without performing it, we're missing a request that's being made of us. So right now, I want our conversation, yours and mine, and yours and everybody else's, I want that to be a performance of awakening. And we can use anything, like a name, as part of our equipment, our performance equipment. Like the ancestor did.


He used those Buddha names to perform his final great teaching, to perform the Buddha Dharma by saying the names of two Buddhas. And for the last more than thousand years, people have been celebrating his performance. And we celebrate his performance by performing it again. And we actualize his teaching by performing it. We actualize the Buddha's teaching by performing the Buddha's teaching. And there's unlimited possible performances. Every conversation you have with any person can be devoted to the performance of awakening. So, do you wish, do I wish, do we wish


that everything we do is for the sake of performing awakening for the welfare of the world? Bodhisattvas commit to that practice of making all their actions of body, speech and mind the performance of reality. And they struggle when they're sleeping or hungry or confused or afraid to stay on the beam, to stay on the balance beam when a lot of stuff's going on. We're trying to learn that. And then if you think, okay, I want to do it, okay, let's perform it now, shall we? And you might say, I'm not ready, give me a minute. When those ladies do the balance beam, you know, they're, they're given a little time to get ready. And then they go and they dive into that world of performing.


What are they performing? When they do the balance beam and they flip around on the balance beam, they're performing. Sun face Buddha, moon face Buddha. That's what they're performing. Master Ma was, was too ill to do the balance beam. So he just said that. But we can now perform it. We are performing it, I would say. And some may say, that wasn't a very good performance. And we deal with that. So maybe that's enough for now. What do you think? Enough for now? So maybe this afternoon we'll look at Sun face Buddha, moon face Buddha again in another collection with another verse. Okay? Thank you so much.