No Abode Dharma Talk - April 3, 2021

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A virtual Dharma talk by Tenshin Roshi for an online gathering of the No Abode community

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Welcome Great Assembly to Noah Bode. What comes up today is the Lotus Sutra. The Lotus Sutra and how it relates to what we call sometimes Zen practice. The Lotus Sutra has a teaching, which many of you have already heard, called the teaching of one vehicle. which is sometimes phrased as, all beings are included and participating in one vehicle, the one Buddha vehicle.


whole universe is the one Buddha vehicle, and every phenomena, everything, every person, every action, every thought, every experience of every living being is the one vehicle. That's what the one vehicle is. It is whatever experience we have is the Buddha vehicle. So this teaching is profoundly and radically tolerant of all ways, of all ways of philosophy, all ways of religion, all ways of experiencing. And the Lotus Sutra also says, encourages and says that it is necessary that we bring up this teaching of the One Vehicle.


Everything may be seen, you know, you can meditate in such a way that everything you see, everything you hear, everything you feel, everything you think, every action you make can be viewed as an aspect of the one vehicle. You can contemplate the teaching that everything is an aspect of the one Buddha vehicle. And it is necessary that the teaching, that this particular teaching that everything is the one vehicle, that this teaching be brought up, be upheld, be expressed,


period. And it would also be good if we expressed it in all of our actions. So this one vehicle teaching is an opportunity for meditation. Yes. And it helps us be tolerant of all beings and all things. Yes. But The hard part for people is that the Lotus Sutra says, in order for the one vehicle, Dharma, to be actually so, to be realized, we must practice it. We must not only contemplate the teaching, but we must understand that we are taking care of this teaching.


and we're taking care of it so that other people who have not yet been able to, first of all, hear it, second of all, meditate on it and contemplate it, and third of all, that they too would see the necessity for them to uphold it and remember it and transmit it. So in that sense, the Lotus Sutra is a proselytizing teaching. Everybody's included, nobody's excluded, and this teaching must be propagated. Otherwise, it will not be realized. Because although all things may be contemplated and may be meditated upon as the one Buddha vehicle.


That doesn't mean that they are the one Buddha vehicle and also that they aren't. Really things aren't really, really everything is all things are not or are not not. Buddha vehicle. However, that all things are the Buddha vehicle, and are not the Buddha vehicle, and included in the Buddha vehicle, all that is realized by upholding this practice. And that part people have a lot of problems with, with this apparent prophetizing aspect of the Lotus Sutra. So I say over and over, you have heard me say, I pray that the Great Assembly remember stillness and silence.


I pray that the Great Assembly receive stillness and silence. I pray that it practice stillness and silence. And I pray that you transmit the stillness and silence. And now today I say, I pray that you listen to me when I tell you it is necessary to transmit this teaching of stillness and silence. Otherwise, it will not be actualized. And the same with the teaching of one vehicle. So it is both very tolerant and open and non-sectarian, and this non-sectarian aspect must be upheld, which sounds sectarian. I think it was yesterday I mentioned to a group of Dharma successors that, you know, when I write in my, when I say my name,


to the computer, Tension, it writes out T-E-N-S-I-O-N. And I mentioned to them that you can't get the tension out of tension. This teaching has tension in it. No pun intended. And you don't have to uphold the tension, but you do have to uphold the teaching in order for the teaching to be actualized in the realm of insubstantiality, of emptiness, of the ambiguity of all things being the one vehicle. I should say, in the ambiguity of things not being the one vehicle or not being one vehicle.


And the way the Lotus Sutra puts it, it's difficult for people. We have another thing we say frequently, which I haven't heard so much difficulty, which is, the way is perfect and all-pervading. Now, what way is that? It's the way of the one vehicle. is perfect and all-pervading. The dharma of one vehicle is free and untrammeled. What need is there to practice? And yet, if there's the slightest discrepancy, it's not realized. If we do something and do not make that action, the upholding of this dharma, it's as though it's not being realized.


Even though there's no way to get away from it, it's unavoidable and necessary to uphold. So when we sit In meditation, in Zen, we are upholding, we are expressing this one vehicle. And we must uphold it and express it. Otherwise, it will not live its full life in this world. It requires us to uphold it. We must, it is necessary. And it is pivotal because us upholding it is others upholding it. When we uphold it, that is other people upholding it.


And you could say, well, what about other people upholding it? Is that we upholding it? Yes, it is, but they must. so that we will and we must so they do. So again, this is a attempt to find a middle path, a middle way through the apparent duality of being very tolerant and open to all ways, and also emphasizing that this way be upheld. The way that includes all ways needs to be upheld. And we have the opportunity to uphold it, to make our practice of sitting, walking, standing, speaking, thinking, whatever we're doing,


If we uphold this Dharma, then what we're upholding is that Dharma. If we uphold this Dharma, even if we're discussing with somebody how much a car cost, or talking about politics, or doing other discussions at work, whatever we do, we'll be speaking this one Buddha vehicle. If we uphold the one vehicle, everything we do will uphold the one vehicle. Okay. a little offering to the Great Assembly.


And you're welcome to come forth and offer your expression of the one vehicle, the one Buddha vehicle. Tracy. Thank you for the teaching, Tenshin-san. You're welcome. Can you hear me OK? What does it say on that scroll behind you? Yeah, that's, well, this one here is Hoitsu Suzuki Roshi's calligraphy of taking refuge in Buddha. Okay, thank you.


And this one here is Ehei Dogen, Daisho, dropping off, no. Dropping off body and mind. No, dropping off body and mind. Okay. There we go. Okay, thank you. You're welcome. You said that for the teaching of the Lotus Sutra to be actualized or realized, it must be propagated, proselytized, upheld. It must be taught. Taught, yes. And that language, you didn't say language or words, but for some that's a problem that those words might get in the way. So as you were saying that, I was just thinking that might it more neutrally be stated as shared, but shared specifically through stillness and silence.


Shared is fine. Like, that's what we bring to our interactions. This is how we want to be. Yeah, and the Lotus Sutra is telling us to share. It's saying, I need you to share this. It doesn't just say that we Yeah, it doesn't just say sharing is good. I need you to share that. That may be one of the distinguishing qualities of the Lotus Sutra because it's quite specifically, let's say, in joining us to actively, consciously as it were, share. Thank you. Yeah, I've taken up the Lotus Sutra last fall's practice period.


It's still going. Thank you so much. Nice to see you. Nice to see you. Pam. Good morning. Good morning. So I had a question that I was going to bring up even before I heard you talking today and it's it's it's close to the proselytizing element but not quite. So I was reading chapter three last night and it was talking about if you slander the sutra or don't uphold it that basically you will go to hell and have like many rebirths in a wretched condition for a long time. And I was wondering, how does that, so when you were talking today about it being inclusive, including everything, so it said not only if you slander the sutra, but if you read any other sutras or read anything that's not Buddhism, you're gonna go to hell.


So I was hoping you could help me understand the context of that. Is this just an intention grabber to say, this is really important, you need to practice it? Is it just saying, if you don't practice, you're going to go to hell? But they used the word punishment. You're going to be punished if you slander or don't uphold this or read any other sutras. And so I wanted to understand that better. I think it doesn't say read any other sutras, I don't think, but maybe it does. I think it encourages us to read other Mahayana sutras. And also, when I say, if you are reading something like something else, I don't know what, comic books, magazines, New York Times, if you're watching TV, whatever, if your mind is upholding this teaching, you are upholding the Lotus Sutra.


If you practice Zazen, as we say, when you're doing those things, you're upholding Zazen. You're upholding the one Buddha vehicle. So that I like, that makes sense to me. So you have more. So I guess your question is why does it threaten? Yeah. Well, is it threatening harm or is it just telling us what will happen? That's what I was wondering. Is it just like if we're not practicing, obviously we're going to be suffering and in kinds of hell. If you don't do your job of receiving this teaching, remembering it and transmitting it, it's going to be like that's about as bad as it gets. That's the main problem. You can read it that way. But again, while you're reading it that way, and also while you're reading it the other way, any other way, like this is stupid, this is cruel, this is whatever, whatever way you're reading it is an opportunity.


Because whatever way you're reading it is the one Buddha vehicle. If you think the Lotus Sutra is terrible, and you slander it, while you're slandering it, if you uphold the one Buddha vehicle, it is realized while you're slandering and perhaps going into some state of punishment. If you're experiencing punishment, this teaching is for you at that moment. And this teaching also tells you what will happen if you don't practice this teaching. Okay. Should the Lotus Sutra not mention what will happen if we do not let go of worldly affairs. Should it not mention it? Well, somebody might say, yeah, it shouldn't have mentioned it, shouldn't have told us. And I've had that experience with people who I see heading into really difficult situations, horrible situations.


Should I tell them? And I, in some cases, have not, because they didn't ask me. sometimes I feel like I should have told them that they're heading for hell because they I saw them and I they weren't asking me and I didn't think they would listen to me and I thought it might even cause harm if I mentioned it to them like I'm cursing them. So like the Lotus Sutra is in a sense cursing people who slander the Lotus Sutra. Now it I don't know how often it mentions that, does it say what will happen to people who are cruel and disrespectful of other beings? Yes, it does. It does. I haven't read that far yet. But that's something people say, okay. But still, even if you tell people, if you're cruel to people, you will go to hell. Some people don't like that either.


Should the Lord of Shudda warn us or not? And should it warn us emphatically? Some people say, I wish it didn't. And I sometimes have not warned people. And then they did go into a state of hell and death, just as I thought they might. And then based on that experience, I've tried harder to find a way to tell people when I see them heading in the wrong direction. I feel okay when somebody is about to drive off the road to reach over and help them with the steering wheel. But in some other ways, I, yeah, it's like you don't want to predict someone's demise, even though you see it. But the Lotus Sutra does predict the demise of people who turn away from the great vehicle, from the one vehicle. And not to mention, turning away is a big problem, but slandering it,


So yeah, many people in this assembly have problems with this teaching, with this teaching from the Lotus Sutra of what will happen if you do not do this practice, even if you actively fight it. However, it also says the people, the people who are slandering it are included in the one vehicle. As they go to hell, going to hell is included in the one vehicle. And the one vehicle pervades people on their way to hell and people in hell. The Lotus Sutra leads to this kind of discussion of getting down into the worst possible situations and finding a way to practice there. finding a way to respect your own situation, if you're there, and other people who are in that situation.


Can I ask you another question? Is it okay if she asks another question? People are nodding. Okay. So, what I want to do is uphold the one vehicle, and I understand both everything that I do is upholding it and yet it's not. So what I think of when... I think maybe when we are included in the one vehicle, right? We're included. And everything we do that one vehicle says can be seen as the one vehicle. But if we don't actually say, I'm going to uphold it, we don't uphold it. If we don't say, my effort here is to uphold this teaching, in that sense, it's not realized. That's the subtle point. So I uphold it by practicing the precepts, by practicing the paramitas, by sitting, that's upholding it.


That's realizing it. That upholds it and upholding it realizes it. Yeah, okay. All right. Thank you very much. You're welcome. Barry or Kim? You have to unmute. I wanted to share that when you first started calling everybody's name, and there are maybe 125 names, that my judgmental self was sort of making mini judgments of every person, and my mind was wandering. And I've begun to understand how wonderful this moment of recognizing everybody is, and it's truly allowed me to really


begin a conversation with every person here. So thank you for that. You're welcome. We could, you know, we could have these meetings and stop right after we recognize each other. Everything I'm saying is just coming out of this, our relationship, really. That we include each other and also we're judging each other. Jim. Am I being heard? And seen. Yeah. One of the things I love about our tradition is the playfulness in the mando and the koans. And during the Lotus Sutra, Near the end, I was silly and asked if you would be willing to be converted.


And you said, I am willing to be involved in turning with you, which I immediately said, oh, I like that much better. And here in Dubuque, there are no Zen centers. I tend to hang out with Christian clergy. I have felt from the very beginning of knowing about Zen, shouting the truth of Zen from the rooftops. And with my friends, my dear friends who have deep, deep commitment to God and their tradition, I'm always trying to sell the Prajnaparamita. but not objectively so, just by the silly way that I am with them. And I wish for them to know the truth that we all know in this practice.


I know they're not going to become Buddhists. And so I just find it interesting and also difficult on how to propagate this, how to share this in a way for someone who's not going to convert to Buddhism. The other thing I just want to say is, I mentioned since I first met you, I thought you and I would save the world together. um i still feel that the truth of religion is what saves the world so just this this this thing about uh that you're bringing up today about propagation sharing um you know how to do that or how does that work by including all traditions within the one vehicle and having the truth of the prajnaparamita be known


I think the teaching of the Prajnaparamita is pointing to the way it's possible for us to be converted. Because we're not this way or otherwise, we can be this way and otherwise. And so, if I was with Christians, for me to turn from being this way to being otherwise, for example, to be a Christian, if I could turn into a Christian, that would be demonstrating what is possible because of Prajnaparamita. But turning into a Christian doesn't mean I stop there, then I turn into something else, maybe into a Buddhist temporarily, and then maybe into a Taoist. To be turned and to turn. is the Lotus Sutra.


Yeah, and the teaching of the Prajnaparamita is, because we're not this or that, really, we can be this or that to demonstrate that we're not this or that. When we demonstrate that we're not this or that by being this and that, and showing how we have thoroughly pivoted from this to that to this to that, we are demonstrating and upholding the Prajnaparamita. So I'm really glad that you have lots of Christian friends. And the way that I do, I feel like I'm doing what you're describing. And I do it in rather outrageous ways. And they really like hanging out with me. But they don't, but they're more focusing on the fun they have in being with me than recognizing the principle that I'm sharing.


Maybe actually what they're enjoying is the principle, not you. They are, but they identify it with me. That's okay for now. I mean, in other words, they're not running to the library to get, you know, prior me to text. That's okay. Just you just keep upholding the principle, which happens to be you upholding it. And they were and and when you do that, they are being they are that's how they're upholding it. But you know, and they do not have to go to the library. You might have to Because that's the kind of guy you are. Well, thank you for that. And just one other thing. You were going to say something. Just like in a practical, worldly level, I've had the thought, you know, with Bernie Sanders and free college education, one of the greatest things would be like three years of service.


be military service, social service. And when I think of that, I think of Zen training being integrated into that. I just do have this wish for others that in a practical level, I don't see it happening the way that I would like to in my lifetime. It may not happen the way you'd like it. However, if you practice it That's how it's integrated. But it may not look the way you'd like it to. This realization that comes from you practicing may not look the way you'd like it to. So this teaching is saying, it is happening, and if you practice it, it is realized, but not the way you would like it, necessarily. Probably not. Well, I'm beginning to surrender to what you're offering. Thank you.


You're welcome. That didn't take very long, only 25 years. 30, 37. 37 years, that wasn't so long. I have been thinking about how in these times we're almost literally living through the parable of a physician whose children drank poison and then refused to take the medicine. This morning, our sangha here in San Antonio And one of our members talked about the struggle they were having with their mother.


His mother had taken the first shot of the COVID vaccine, but was so afraid of taking the second shot, she was refusing to take it. And I know other people who are struggling with this as well. And I read about it and it seems like our whole society is caught up in this parable. Some of us willing to take the medicine and some of us not. And some of us wanting to convince the ones that don't wanna take the medicine to please take it. and we struggle with that. I feel like that very timely teaching, you know, the Lotus Sutra, it addresses it, but I'm not quite sure how we can be like the physician, you know, to, it seems like you really can't force somebody to take the medicine.


Well, he didn't force them, right? He didn't force the people to take it. He left and he used a skillful device so that in this particular case, he used a skillful device so that they would grieve. And in their grieving, they became sober. They recovered from their intoxication because of their grieving from the skillful means he offered them. So we need to offer people some skillful device to help them recover from their intoxication. Because if we try to force someone who's intoxicated, that's not going to work. But we can help them wake up from there and recover from their intoxication. Then they will be able to ingest the teaching. So we cannot force, but we can offer gifts, skillful gifts.


And when we give a gift, we offer it without expecting any result. Because that just usually aggravates the addiction, the intoxication. Thank you. Thank you. Oma. Good morning, everybody. Good morning, everybody. What I'm contemplating on is, does this mind that we're talking as, which we call it Buddha way, or life, or the river that we're in, all of the experiences, all of our life experiences.


Does this mind actually has the capacity of letting go of its own self or it's playing and spinning around and doesn't have the capacity so it creates more ideas and more groups and more religions and more understanding but it really actually can never understand its own self. Okay so this mind It, you could say, you say, does it have the capacity? This mind is the capacity not to hold on to itself. Okay, if it is the capacity, why all for all these years, why we have created more split, more fight, more separation?


If it has the capacity, why is it not playing? Why is it not Living that capacity. Yes. Yes. You described this samsara that's going round and round, right? That's our limited world. And that world, in the fullness of samsara, that's exactly the fullness of nirvana and freedom. in the cycling of holding on and being stuck and suffering in the fullness of that, there is meeting, freedom from that. Okay. Why is this meeting recurring? Why is that meeting constant? Why is not that meeting all?


Why is it meeting, meeting, not meeting, meeting, not meeting? Why is this still not meeting? It's like playing, it's pivoting. Why do we have this nature? I don't know. But our nature is that samsara and nirvana are not the least bit separate. Why is Why is bondage and freedom, why are they not separate? I don't know. But we have bondage, and it's a big problem. We have attachment, we have greed, hate and delusion, and they're spinning around, we've got that. But also we have a teaching which is in the fullness, in the extreme expression, at the full expression of our samsara, right there is freedom. Freedom is right there. And the fullness of freedom is to be right there with samsara.


But for now, let's try to fully inhabit our limited world. Let's be limited and hung up and stressed out fully. And this teaching is partly that this samsara is not separate from nirvana, but this teaching is also to use this teaching to fully inhabit the world of birth and death, the world of attachment, to fully inhabit it. Because at the limit of that world is where nirvana is meeting us. Thank you, thank you. So that makes sense. is that at least this mind and body, the here-ness, the here-ness of this mind and body is to inhabit the limitations totally.


The inhabitant of limitations. Oh, I love that. I love that. Because just the fact of inhabiting the limitation makes me not want to go anywhere else, but just, yeah, yeah, yeah. Thank you. [...] My God. Yes, there. In trying to express the one vehicle, I sometimes use the word respect when talking to other people, about respecting other people and other beings.


For me, the word respect is very deep and inspiring about the path. But sometimes when I speak to people, there is this obstacle of respect can mean admiration for someone's skill and so on. You respect eminent scholar and something, things like that. And that's not my understanding of respect, but I'm wondering if there's some other, how to, how to deal with this obstacle in communication. I have a similar view to you. And someone said to me just a few days ago, I hope you know that I really respect you.


And I said, well, actually, I'm not so sure. I don't know that. I said, I really feel and sense that you really appreciate me. That I can see. But respect, I'm not so sure about. I remember one of my first surprises from Suzuki Roshi was, I think, at a wedding ceremony, where he said to the couple, loving each other is wonderful or something, or really important. But he said, respect is more important. And so for me, I remember the etymology of respect is re-spectus, to look, to again look. So if you go and you meet the Buddha and the Buddha looks really good, you think, wow, what a gorgeous Buddha.


You appreciate the Buddha, but respecting the Buddha is you look at the Buddha and say, that Buddha looks good. I wonder what that Buddha is. Who is that masked man? What is that Buddha? Buddha wants you to ask questions. Who are you, Buddha? What is your teaching? What can I do for you today? How am I doing? Am I your student? This is like respect includes look again. It doesn't mean you push away your first impression or your second impression. It means you keep looking again. You keep inquiring. That's respect. You don't attach to the teaching, you respect it. It's not about accomplishment or credentials or anything like these things. It's not about accomplishment, but if accomplishment's there, you can respect accomplishment by questioning it, by studying it, and discovering what it really is by respect.


But there's a place for appreciation too. We do feel that sometimes. It's fine. We don't make ourselves appreciate. I would say appreciation is more like just a gift. But somehow respect is more like a practice. And it's kind of hard, especially when we see something that we don't appreciate or do appreciate. One way I thought of speaking to people would be if they asked me, well, how can you respect someone? And the first thought was, well, not killing. That would be a start. Yeah. Let's look again at killing this person, shall we? I have this feeling I'm killing this person.


Let's respect that and look at that again. Yeah, so respect does not mean you like it. And being generous does not mean you like it. Welcoming does not mean you like it. So usually, first of all, we kind of have to start with being generous and then study, then investigate. Receive. like receive stillness, receive silence, and then respect it. In other words, remember it. In other words, study it, practice it. Some people don't like silence and stillness, but I pray that they accept it anyway, and that they remember it and respect it. Accept, remember, respect. Yeah. Whether you like it or not. So maybe... Yeah, I don't pray that you get sick.


But I do pray that you receive silence and stillness and that you respect it. Thank you. Thank you. Good morning. Good morning. Thank you for what you just said to Dale. That was really helpful. I had a question about something else, though, and it kind of relates to what Jim was talking, I think his name was Jim, was talking about. In talking about the Lotus Sutra earlier, you said, transmitting the Dharma, teaching the Dharma, manifesting the Dharma. And I was curious about you use the word transmission quite a bit. And I wonder, kind of if you could explain a little more about what you mean by it. And part of the thought in that question, is that it seems to me that teaching has some element of intentionality to it, where transmission is almost in my mind, it's almost like more contagious thing.


It's transmitted like a virus. It's just, you know, we breathe it out and somebody else breathes it in. It's more of a... Yes, so that's an important point. So when you sit, in reality, you are transmitting sitting. Your sitting is transmitted to others. However, there is a necessity for you to uphold that your sitting transmits to others. So when I sit in the zendo, I transmit sitting to others, but also I have the responsibility to remember and intend that this sitting is for others, that I'm upholding this for others. This is called the Buddha seal. My sitting is sealed with other people and I remember that Buddha view.


It's not just me sitting, it's me sitting for others, with others and as others. And somebody needs to remember that teaching, that Buddha mind seal. So there is intentionality in it or you could say it's uniting our intention with this project of transmission of the Dharma in both directions. What do you mean in both directions? Others are transmitting the practice to me. I'm receiving it. I'm receiving it. I'm remembering it. I'm inspecting it, I'm respecting it, I'm practicing it, and all that is transmitting it. But I remember the transmission. So I'm receiving it, but I'm also transmitting it. Receiving and transmitting. One of our Samadhis calls receiving and transmitting Samadhi.


To receive and employ, to receive and give away, to receive and transmit. Not just transmit, transmit what we receive. Got it. So there's a two-way aspect to transmission and both sides of it have some intentionality or remembrance. Living beings have consciousness and the structure of the consciousness is intentionality. Thank you. You're welcome. I'm sorry the lighting is not very good.


I am too. My mother was, is being cared for beautifully by my aunt and cousin. on a 40-acre farm in Kansas. My gratitude to them is enormous. However, they're members of a very ultra-conservative Catholic sect that is foundational and important to them, and they're putting my mother You know, they've just had her confirmed in that. So I've had, you know, actually what arises for me, partly just out of gratitude for everything they've done for her, is to, and also because I come from a line, a Catholic lineage.


My mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother, my great-great-grandmother, they all were Catholics. So in some sense, I feel aware of this line that I was born into. And I actually like the idea of taking the sacraments with them as a way of joining with them. But I would be doing it in the same spirit that I would bow in the zendo or sit in the zendo. It would be like that for me. And they wouldn't understand that. And the question arises, would I be deceiving them in some way? Because they might assume that I'm going to become like them. And that's probably not going to be happening. So that's my question. How do I do this?


I feel like your question is related to making your relationship with them truly harmonious. Yes. Yes. Yeah. And to fixate on one side of the possibility of you should tell them how you experience it, or you shouldn't tell them because they might not understand. Those also should be investigated. But I think it is possible to have really deep harmonious peace with people who practice in different ways from us. And this teaching is for the sake of that. Now some people are not like you. They wouldn't feel comfortable participating in the sacraments. But you do. You have your own way. Right.


It would be no different, really, from bowing in Zendo. You have your own way in the zendo. And maybe some people in the zendo don't know the way you bow in the zendo, should you tell them. You have a different way of understanding the way you bow in the zendo than they do. It's the same question, really. It's interesting, that question didn't occur to me. I don't seem to have that question, bowing in the zendo. There's an ease and an assumption that There isn't a question. Or you may assume that it's okay with people that you have a unique way of practicing Zen. I feel that there's a field of openness there that is not there in the other setting. And you may feel in the other setting there's not openness. Right. You're supposed to have it a certain way. So this teaching is different from that. This teaching is saying that the one teaching


is to not adhere to a fixed way of doing ritual. That's a teaching of this tradition. We have rituals and the teaching is do not adhere to the rituals. And that's the point of the rituals is to perform them without adhering to them. And that feels possible. to do, whether it's the Zendo or the Catholic Church, even in a very extreme version of the Catholic Church. And that's, that's what we're trying to encourage is for people to, for Buddhists to learn how to do their rituals without adhering, and also for Buddhists to, in the process of not adhering to their rituals, to participate with Catholic ritual, to transmit to Catholics how to do their ritual without adhering to it. Because if they do their rituals without adhering to them, that will bring peace to the world.


It's scary, actually. It's scary to think of going into that setting. And scariness is a ritual. It's called the ritual of fear and scariness. Perform that awesome, frightening ritual without adhering to it. That transmits peace and harmony. I would like to do that. And I don't wanna deceive them into thinking that I'm going to become like them. And I would not want them to misunderstand, but I don't know how to, yeah, work with that. You tell them that you're not gonna be like them, they still might be deceived into thinking that you're gonna be like them. If you tell them that you are like them, they might think you're not like us. You're not deceiving people if you're being honest with yourself. And if you want to find out, you can ask them, what do you think I'm doing here?


How do you think I'm doing these rituals? Do you think I'm really a secret Zen student doing them? What do you think's going on? Have the dialogue with them. That is another vehicle for transmission. But, you know, no matter what you do, people can misunderstand you. But the thing is, are you being honest with yourself? And that's something to investigate. Right. It feels like I would like to have that kind of freedom and be able to join with them in the ways that is possible for me to join with them without getting lost in their stuff, you know? Again, it might be good to get lost in their stuff as long as you don't adhere to getting lost in their stuff. Yeah. You can transmit freedom when you're lost. Hello, my name is Lee. Guess what? I'm lost. I'm a lost soul.


And they say, oh, welcome lost soul. And then you can show them how to be a lost soul that isn't adhering to being a lost soul. is not trying to avoid it. I used to try to avoid getting lost when I came to visit you, but now I come to visit you and I immediately get lost. And when I leave you, I'm not lost anymore. There's some truth in that, when I go there. Exactly, but I'm not attached to not being lost. When I'm with Patrick, I'm not lost, but I'm not attached to that. When I'm with you, I get lost, but I'm happy to come and be lost with you. That feels loving. It is loving. And it's peacemaking, peace realizing. And also it would just be something that would be very meaningful for them, for me to participate in the sacraments. And that would also be loving. It would. And maybe they would even not be attached to the meaningfulness of it.


That one I doubt, but I could be wrong. You doubt it, but that's like doubting the one vehicle. They are on the path. They are going to realize this. Maybe they don't today, but the way they don't today is their way on the one vehicle. They are in the process of realizing liberation together with all of us. Thank you. You're welcome. Thank you. Lindsay. Hello. Hello. Hi, sorry. Welcome, Lindsay. Long time no see. Yeah. So I have a question about curiosity. Yeah. With curiosity, there's joy.


So for example, just observing, you know, in nature, a scene and being curious and kind of taking it in. Right. But I find that then there's also curiosity of wanting to know why, you know, why is it life like this? Why is it so? I sometimes find that, yeah, there's, I guess, these shades of curiosity. I'm not really sure, but I feel that sometimes the intellectual curiosity takes away the joy, the joy part of curiosity. Yeah. If you're curious and you also want to know what you're curious about, That wanting to know is a possible, what do you call it, pitfall near the curiosity.


Curiosity should be turned on the wanting to know something, too. If the curiosity gets infected by the wanting to know, then the curiosity is not curiosity, or it's defiled curiosity. Pure curiosity is not trying to get anything. It's just wondering and looking. It's awesome. It's in awe. And yet it's interesting. So curiosity is similar to respect. But to respect somebody, to get something, that's another issue. And then the respect should be turned towards the trying to get something. And the curiosity, if it comes up with trying to get to know what you're curious about, That should be respected too, and what's that about? And they say, oh, I see, yeah, I am that way. However, now that I'm curious about that, now the joy is back. This is the real curiosity is to be applied to what I'm looking at, and any kind of other agenda around there should also be offered curiosity.


Offeredness. Jeffrey. Hi, everybody. I was wondering if you would be so kind as to talk a little bit about the word vehicle. because I keep seeing chariots running around, like literal or clown cars. How about also boats or ships? Boats, yes, those work. So when you speak... How about a rocket ship? How about a backpack or something to carry babies in? Yeah. A lot of vehicles.


We are upheld by something. We're not walking alone. Our body is a vehicle. It's a vehicle for the universe. And we're all in this one Buddha body of the universe, realizing itself. Thank you. It will give me something. The vehicle is medium, medium. Okay, this is the agar, the agar of our... Yeah, or container. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for the questions, they're good. Linda. Is it this, Linda?


It seems to be this, Linda. Okay. Good morning, everyone. I realized that the word proselytize, I associate it with violence, actually, with a kind of pressure and crushing and however, When I think of last week's talk that Peter and Jane gave at Green Gulch, Peter, for those of you who weren't there, Peter Schneider was talking about Suzuki Roshi's relationship with Mrs. Ransom, his English teacher. And this turning that happened where she went from, you know, using the Buddha's mudras, ashtray, and putting her shoes on the altar in the Tokunoma to, it was, I suppose you could say it was Suzuki where she was proselytizing by just caring for the Buddha, showing her a different way with gentleness.


And it wasn't violent at all from the story. And she completely turned. She didn't have to defend against somebody proselytizing. It came out of friendship and affection and loving kindness and skill. So I think there's, I don't know about this firsthand, but that there's Lotus Sutra schools or sects that take this teaching that we're bringing up today to a degree that, um, that's more weaponized or something, perhaps. And I just feel it's, I don't know if risk is the word. I think we have to be very, really careful around this. But the Suzuki Roshi's way, I feel like that, I don't feel there's a problem with that, how he,


turned around, like converted, right? Isn't that what that word means? A turning? Mrs. Ransom. So, any thoughts on that? We're bringing out another aspect. So, the violence in the process of transmission comes when one or more parties in the transmission think that their view is better than somebody else's. That's violence, kind of violence. So, if when Suzuki Roshi took the shoes that were placed next to the Buddha statue and placed them somewhere else, when he did that, if he thought that he was better or that Buddhism was better than what Mrs. Ransom was doing, that would have been violence. And some of us may feel like he didn't think that way.


And when he came to America, when he showed us, like same thing with shoes in America, he showed us when we went to the Zenda where to put our shoes, you know, and to line them up. And if they were not lined up, he sometimes would go out and line them up. But maybe we felt that he didn't think he was better than us. Or maybe he didn't even think that the lined up shoes were better than the messy shoes. He was converting us to take care of our shoes and be careful of our feet to respect everything. But maybe we felt like if we, no matter what, he respected us. And if we respect people in the process of transmission, then it's not violent. But it is possible in propagating teachings to look down on those who have not received the teaching, or look down on those who don't want to receive the teaching.


And that's the violent part. And you appreciate the way Suzuki Roshi taught, but I think he was also in danger all the time, just like we are in danger all the time of becoming self-righteous. And you know that phrase of his, what we're doing is far too important to be taken seriously. Or you could change it, easier statement would be, what we're doing is far too important to be taken too seriously. So he was, when we met him in the later part of his life, He very much cared about what he was offering us, and he loved to offer us things. But yeah, we didn't, I don't feel, we didn't feel that he slipped into self-righteousness. When he showed me how to carry a stick, how to walk when I was in the zendo, when he showed me these things, I never felt that he was self-righteous.


Maybe he was, but I think if you look at the younger Suzuki Roshi, he sometimes, admits that he slipped into self-righteousness. And we got the mature version. Even the mature version could possibly still sometimes slip into. Zen is a little bit better than something else. So the danger of slipping into grasping our practice, you know, is always present. So we have to be mindful not to grasp our wonderful practice. And he really seemed very good at not grasping it. And maybe the best thing about not grasping it is that you can give it more fully and more skillfully. But that's very important that this propagation is not self-righteous, that our commitment to nonviolence is not a self-righteous commitment.


And self-righteousness is the kind of violence And you can take a very good thing, like nonviolence, and bring self-righteousness over to it, and it turns into violence. It can. We got the mature Suzuki Roshi, we were lucky. Fazio. Hi, everyone. So, as I listened to the discussion, what struck me was that you're trying to point to that which is really indescribable, but you're doing a great job. It's amazing how you're helping people see what is really hard to describe, unless we


get there and see it, and ourselves. And the phrase that you used, inhabiting fully our lives or limits of our lives, is really what grabbed my attention today. And also the turning, the idea of turning. Because from my observation, the turning happens in moments when I found a stillness, a still point in some kind of a squabble or struggle or, you know, roughing with life. And that still point is amazing. It's just like, there's a complete turning of the situation. A lot of times it's just like a still point. And suddenly the whole case dropped. The argument had dropped. whatever was going on, it turned.


And so I was looking, as I listened, I was thinking, what are the ingredients that get me to that point? Because this is the aim of practice, to find that point more often than not. And for me, I see that it is humility, kind of recognizing that, I don't know, and removing myself. So it's almost like a place where I find myself non-existing. Like I drop away. The body and mind drops away. And there's just me. There's just nothing really. I just drop all the agendas or the this or that, trying or negotiating. Everything stops, a full stop. And then that thing happens. Why is it that I miss sometimes that moment? And then there is more of the old stuff.


It is because I lack faith. I guess that's where the faith comes in. Sort of having faith that it's gonna be, even this needs to be let go and dropped. And it's not really conscious, but it happens somewhat by intention. Can I say something? So going back to the beginning, to fully inhabit our limits, remembering silence and stillness helps us fully inhabit, fully accept our limits, and fully accept humility. And when we fully accept our limits, at that moment, we are silent and still. And in that moment of silence and stillness with our limits, it isn't that our limits turn into the unlimited.


It's just that the unlimited is right there. And it's realized And we don't turn the limited into the unlimited, but we realize the limited and unlimited are turning on each other at that point. And humility and respect and kindness help us fully inhabit our limits. Right. Exactly. Yeah. And actually, as I was listening to this and I thought, well, today is Saturday. the struggle some of the people who asked about this question it's inviting the symbology of Jesus dying on the cross to me it was just fully inhabit the cross is the moment of fully inhabiting my limits in that very painful situation whatever it is fully inhabiting And then look, there's this three-day wait. To me, it's that stillness, that entering that with courage and faith and trust into the fully inhabiting and waiting.


And it's not a conscious waiting, it's something... And there's this piece of music called Stabat Mater, which is translated in English could be Mother Stood. So Mary stood there. silent and still with her suffering son. And she taught him how to be on the cross. What did you say? She taught him how to be on the cross, how to be there completely. Right, exactly. To be silent and still, so that he could be silent and still with his painful life. Yes. Hi, everyone. Thank you so much. I was actually going to ask about silence and stillness too.


So a little bit, I feel like I just heard some, but my question was more general about, you know, I would love to hear more about because when you talk about silence and stillness you really um from my view light up you know when you talk about you pray for others to experience silence and stillness i feel i feel like your intimacy and joy about it and i guess i would just be curious to hear more about your love of stillness and silence and if you if if it feels natural to say a little about your journey with it. You know, you're coming to know it, you could say, over the years. We moved to Green Gulch, we Zen Center Sangha moved to Green Gulch almost 49 years ago.


We moved to Green Gulch and I became Tanto of Green Gulch 49 years ago, in the fall of 1972. And I sat in the zendo. And sometimes in my early immature years, not to say I'm mature now, but anyway, when I was more immature than I am now, I used to say in the zendo to the sangha, don't move. So my early understanding was that stillness was something we could do. And we do go in the zendo and we do sit still. But now I'm not praying for the stillness, which we do. Although I do practice the stillness, which we can do. And many people do. We go in there and we do this thing, sit down and we sit still.


What I pray for, is a stillness which we don't make ourselves. I pray for the stillness which is our true relationship. Our true relationship is we're totally letting each other be and supporting each other to be. That's not moving and that's silent and I pray that we receive that because that true relationship is already here. So now rather than encouraging people to do stillness, which I do to some extent. I guess I do encourage them, but I encourage them just by sitting. I mostly pray for the, I could say, complete stillness in each moment. It's already here in each moment. And that we will receive it and receive it like Dharma rain. We receive the stillness. I pray for that. I want that. I don't make it. I want I pray that we receive it together, and that we remember it, and that we practice it, and again, transmit it.


So this is my later years relationship with another kind of stillness from the kind I knew about when I started sitting still. Thank you for your question. You'll have to tell me your name, the woman with the iPad. I guess it's me. My name is Charlotte. Was it me? Yes. Hi. Hi. Thank you. Hello, Rev. Hello, Charlotte. And hello, Great Sangha. Thank you for all the sharings. Since the January intensive and the study, when we studied the Lotus Sutra I've been having a bit more difficulty to welcome my mind as it is


out of the fear that's stirred up in all the harshness in the text and what's going to happen if you discourage the punishing side of the language. Yeah, I think it has brought up some lack of trust or something in me that I can just fully welcome everything as it is and that's the practice I want to do. In the same time I have been feeling, I've been reciting chapter 25 and doing that I've been feeling really kind of connected and held by the sutra.


So it's this kind of bit schizophrenic relationship I have to it now. But I think now when I hear everyone talk and we talk about the vehicle and I think what my mind is, it's very clear to me that I get these problems with the text because I grasp. Yeah, sorry. Can I say something? I think you know that I pray that you will receive stillness. Do you know that I pray for that? Thank you. Do you know that I pray for that? No. So, in the situation you described, I pray that you remember stillness, that you receive it in silence. I'm not saying push away


these thoughts. I'm not saying get rid of them, I'm not saying run away from them. I'm saying I pray when these thoughts come, whether you're reading the Lotus Sutra or not, when those thoughts come, I pray that you receive silence and stillness. And remember it. Remember it as these thoughts come. You know, here they come. And also remember silence and stillness. And here they come, remember. Do not push them away. Be silent. Not even be. Receive it. It's being given to you when these thoughts come. And I hear you saying, it's hard for me to remember silence and stillness. It's hard for me to receive silence and stillness when these thoughts come. It is hard, that's why I'm praying for this.


That's why I'm trying to support you to remember this when these difficult thoughts come. So you can remember that we're praying for you to remember that when these thoughts come, and you can also join the prayer. You can pray that we remember it, and of course, you can pray that you remember. It may be better to pray, pray that we're all going to remember this and receive this. And if you keep doing that practice along with reading Chapter 25, then maybe when these really challenging thoughts come, you will be able to continue. Like in Chapter 25, it's remember the power of great compassion. Remember it. It doesn't say make Avalokiteshvara save you. It's remember it, recall it, right? Remembering Avalokiteshvara is remembering silence and stillness. Receiving Avalokiteshvara's great power is receiving the great power of silence and stillness.


To deal with these challenging arisings, okay? Please join me in this prayer. I will. I will. Anne. I just wanted to say how important to me the great vehicle is, the one vehicle, just the whole idea of it. It's just utterly stunning to me. And my experience of Zen, when I first kind of encountered it, was an active version of people taking responsibility for my practice and for me and sort of inviting me into a one great vehicle.


And it was, again, a stunning kind of revelation of what it means to reach towards other people with goodwill. And as somebody with quite a bit of violence inside and quite a bit of self-righteousness and pretty much any negative mind state you can think of, it just seems so wise to be able to include all this war to create a deeper peace between parts of myself and the world. When I feel like I'm in a moment of a great vehicle moment where I'm suspended by the great vehicle, I usually feel like I'm not in it. Like everything is around me and I'm with it, but I'm not really exactly there. And I'm wondering what is your experience of being in the one great vehicle and how much of your day are you in it? Like, do you feel like you're just like the container for


Anyway, illuminate. It's not a feeling, it's a practice. I remember that we're all on the great vehicle together right now. I remember that. I contemplate it. I might feel that way too, but no matter how I feel, I contemplate this teaching all day long. But right now, I'm contemplating and remembering the teaching. Do I feel like I'm on the great vehicle? I don't really know what it feels like to be on the great vehicle. But I remember that the teaching is, I am, you are, we are. That's what the great vehicle is. It's what we're doing together right now. I remember that. I receive that. I practice that. I am practicing that now, and I'm very happy to do so. But I don't necessarily feel like I'm... You never had a moment where you said, oh, this is a great vehicle moment.


So far, I have not had that, no. It may happen any minute. So the last question will be Deborah Mateo. Hi. Hi, everyone. Hi, Reb. Reb, you mentioned fullness of freedom is to be right there with samsara. And is that the same as inhabiting fully the limitations of our lives? And I keep having this expectation that if I can be fully present with what's arising, then I won't be in great suffering. But I think that's wrong. A wrong concept. I don't know if I agree that it's wrong. I would just say that fully present with great suffering is where it's at.


That's great compassion. Great compassion is fully present with great suffering. And that's not the slightest bit different from freedom from suffering. So it doesn't mean pain is absent. No. We have a number of... The Buddha was in pain when the Buddha passed away in India. But the Buddha was still the Buddha, giving all these wonderful teachings in pain. And earlier, before the Buddha's final days, the Buddha had back problems. The great Buddha, and sometimes couldn't sit up to give talks. because of back problems. The Buddha was in pain. And then the Buddha had his senior students give the Dharma talks. When he was reclining, he was lying down next to them. But the Buddha was still there completely with her pain, completely with her pain, completely free of pain.


With pain so fully that she was free of it. And the Dharma was being taught by expressing the freedom of pain in pain. I think I'm just not quite there yet. I feel pain, but I'm not quite free of the pain when I'm present. I think you feel pain when you haven't yet fully inhabited it. we haven't fully accepted it. And that's the path we're on. To fully accept our limits is something we're learning how to do. And we're on the path to learning that. Yes, what? So, as far as being on the path to learning it, just be as present as we can with what's arising, I'm guessing.


Be present with what's arising, and also be present with there still seems to be a little difference from this suffering and being freedom from suffering. And the difference between this suffering and freedom from suffering, the distance is my to whatever extent I'm unwilling to be with my suffering. That's the only thing that makes it a separation. If I don't resist my suffering at all, if I'm completely generous and patient and respectful and careful with my suffering, then there will be no separation between my suffering and the freedom from suffering of all beings. There's not really a separation. There's only my resistance to my situation that creates this separation. It's not real, but it's conjured up by my resistance.


So would the first step just to be aware of my resistance? Yes. I don't know if it's the first step, but it's a necessary step. And if you fully inhabit your resistance to suffering, you will fully inhabit your suffering. Any other things I should do? That can be a bumper sticker. Say it one more time, please. Fully inhabiting your resistance to suffering is freedom from suffering. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you, everybody. May our intention equally extend to every being and place with the true merit of Buddha way.


Beings are numberless. I vow to save them. Afflictions are inexhaustible. I vow to stop resisting them. Dharma gates are boundless. I vow to enter them. Buddha way is unsurpassable. I vow to become it. Thank you, Rob. Thank you, Rob. Thank you. Thank you.