No Abode Dharma Talk - July 10th, 2021, Afternoon

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The first in-person gathering at No Abode since 2020

AI Summary: 



In this chant we did, which we often do at the beginning of the day, we're talking about that when we meet the world, meet the Dharma, the true Dharma, we will be able to let go of worldly affairs. Like let go of sentimental compassion and let go of the compassion which is illuminated by wisdom. Holding on to those things is a worldly affair. We'll be able to let go of our clinging when we hear the true Dharma, when we meet it. And then we can maintain the Buddha way. And then it says, although our past evil karma has greatly accumulated, it could also be translated, I guess, however our past karma may have greatly accumulated,


and becoming the cause and condition of obstacles in practicing the way of great compassion. And it says, may all Buddhas and ancestors who have attained the Buddha way be compassionate to us and free us from karmic effects, allowing us to practice the way without hindrance. So that way of putting it maybe sounds a little bit like we're inviting the Buddhas and ancestors to be compassionate to us. That seems fine to me. It also seems fine to me, generally speaking, to ask you to be compassionate to me. But we can also be careful not to put this


separate from ourselves or outside of ourselves. So when karmic obstructions come up, I think we could say, may compassion come to this situation. May there be compassion to this obstruction, to great compassion. May there be compassion for this immature form of compassion. And in that compassion, the obstacle is liberated, and we are liberated with the obstacle. Yes, please. When we were just reading the Torah's entry, it talks about when people have heard us,


they're emasculating us. Yeah, when these things happen, when people are cruel to us, they offer us an opportunity to be compassionate, to join the compassion with that person. You could say that maybe you could say that, I guess, maybe he's saying that Buddhas are sending these people to us to stimulate us to be compassionate. No, I wouldn't say so much that they're emancipating us, but rather they're giving us an opportunity


for emancipation. When people are cruel to me, they're giving me an opportunity for emancipation by me responding to them compassionately. If I can respond to people giving me a hard time with compassion, this is the path to emancipation, but not just freedom per se, but freedom from obstacles in practicing the way. It's not just to be free, but it's to be free to practice the way which frees everybody. Not just I'm going to be free of this affliction, but by being compassionate to it, I will be free to practice the Buddha way. That's what it says in the beginning of this one too. Meeting the Buddha Dharma, you renounce worldly affairs, which is doing things which obstruct


the Buddha way. You renounce them when you see the truth. When you renounce them, then you can practice without hindrance, and that practice doesn't just liberate you, it liberates everybody. It seems like these devices were sent to us for us to learn from them as a teacher. Yeah, so this view of these devices are the universe's devices to teach us how to be Buddhas. We're being sent things to teach us how to be Buddhas. Here comes this big slap in the face. Now this slap in the face is going to teach you how to be Buddha, to respond to the slap like a Buddha would, which might be like, oh, oh, but no ill will, no, and no, but compassion


for the slap and the slapper. The Buddha was kind of mistreated, the historical Buddha was mistreated, and many Zen ancestors have been mistreated, and they were able to respond with compassion, which was, you could say, an expression of their already having attained the way, but also it's an expression of removing the hindrances to attaining, practicing the way. So the way would practice compassion towards these difficulties, and practicing compassion with these difficulties opens the way. On that occasion it liberates us, but it doesn't just liberate us from this particular problem, this particular pain. It liberates us from obstructions to practicing Buddhahood, and, by the way, it liberates


us from this particular problem. So we can be joyful with this pain, because we respond to the pain with generosity and so on. So we can be joyful in the middle of pain, plus not only does that happen, and are we not harmed by the pain? The pain doesn't harm us, but we open the way, the way, the Buddha way, which is not just for us becoming free. Linda? Linda. I find it all acceptable to use the words that are used here.


I find them dangerous. Very dangerous. And I'm sure you know why I'm saying this, because I've heard several. But I couldn't go on reading when I got to this point. It's not only I will use the cool, cool, whatever it is, compassion. That's not all I said. It's that when I am used and persecuted, I will continue to bow down to that person as an avatar of the Buddha who has come as a result of my ego-centered persecution. So I will say, I'm sure everybody knows why I'm saying this, that that is a cool and dangerous way to make a sentence, to work together. And you want me to say more about why that is?


I don't think I need to, but I would be willing to. You put it in words that seem to have more wisdom to it, but those words are unacceptable. The Buddha way is, as you've heard me say, is to question everything. And I hear you questioning this text, but also it would be, the Buddha way would not only be to question this English text, and if possible question the Japanese and see how the translation is, but also question yourself. And is it possible to question yourself and still say what you said? I hope so, because I wouldn't want you to question yourself


into not being able to express yourself. Pardon? I would, yeah, I could say I'm questioning you. Can you question yourself when you express your views? That's my question to you. I'm not telling you to throw your views out the window. Buddhism wants to be questioned. And so I feel you're questioning this expression of Tore Zenji's vow, you're questioning it. I'm saying Tore Zenji wants you to question this text. And I'm saying, thank you for questioning it. And other people say, thank you for questioning it. Then I also just, by the way, are you also questionable? So you're part of the Buddha way too, so you should be questionable also.


So by questioning this, by me questioning it and you questioning it, this text can become a Dharmagate. And questioning it can include you questioning it also that you maybe make statements about it. That can be part of it. If we have no text to question, if we've had that situation, which we don't, we've got text to question, right? Then we might have to bring the chronicle in or something. If none of us had any questions of anything about Buddhism, then Buddhism would be dead. But we don't have that problem. We've got stuff to question. And now the questioning should be not a one-way street. It appears that Nanda is questioning enabling abuse.


Well, she... Yeah, she's questioning... She's questioning that too. So she's questioning this thing saying it's all my fault. So does it say it's all my fault? Or does it say it's... What? Yeah. And so that also needs to be interpreted. No, it doesn't say that. But it does say... It says emancipate us from sinful karma. The merciful avatar of Buddha who uses devices to emancipate us from sinful karma that has been produced. Yeah. So that's slightly less, it's all my fault. It's to liberate us all from our past karma. And it's not saying... So that includes that what happens to me


is not just due to my karma. It's due to all of our karma. So questioning it maybe gets us to look at that. We are responsible for this situation. And any hinderance that's arisen in our dealing with this situation is suggesting that practicing this way will free us of hindrances in practicing the way. And even the Buddha doesn't say that everything that happens to you is due to your karma. But your karma is one of the important things to look at. To study. You can also become a meteorologist and study that. But we're focusing on our action. And not just my action, but our action. Yeah, I hope that...


We're also talking about this thing about making an effort and being relaxed. Can you make a big effort to do something and be relaxed? If you make a big effort and you tense up, we often know how to do that, right? You make a big effort to say something or express yourself and you tense up. And you can notice that tension. And some people are concerned if you're not tense, you might not be able to express. But I'm proposing that if you have something to say, that being relaxed while you say it may help you say it more skillfully. You can make a big effort to express your questions about the teachings, wholeheartedly express it, and be tense about it. And the tension may kind of not serve your expression.


So, that's another part of the compassion is to be kind to the tension that comes when we express our concerns about anything, including these teachings. And if there is tension, to be kind to it. To put it out there and practice the compassion with it. And then, notice that you can do the same thing again, but now in a relaxed way and more transformative and more liberated. So, I appreciate you bringing this up and I hope that you keep bringing it up, these kinds of things. I hope that you continue to bring it up. And I hope that you keep finding a way to relax when you bring it up,


because if you can relax, you're going to be able to bring it up more. If you're tense, you might say, this is just too painful. And perhaps give up. Yes? I just want to join you in welcoming more expressions of the Buddha and Jackie, because I feel myself need to be kept awake. You're helping me to stay awake. And this vow, to make a vow and to be so wholeheartedly, I feel, Tori, is just really wholeheartedly saying that we're at the limits of where she wants to go with her devotion, responsibility, and the way she regards this as a vow. And I also want to consider that you know, humbly bowing down in regular belief might be saying, you know,


standing up and saying the cycles of violence are not really what I want to engage in. And so, I don't think this is a dictating behavior. I think the spirit of this is. Yeah. You could humbly bow down and say, no. You could do a humble prostration and say, no. But the point is, you're saying no, but it's not an arrogant no. It's a humble no. And a humble no might actually open the gates of compassion in other people's hearts. I just want to say it, that Olympic swimmers make a big effort. I don't know what they're saying,


you know, when they make their effort, but they really put their arms into the water and pull really hard. If we did that with our arms, our arms would come out of the joint. They make a tremendous, powerful strokes. And they're like the most powerful swimmers on the planet. And I heard people watching these people and you have these amazingly powerful swimmers. They're all powerful and they say, look who's the most relaxed. Michael Phelps. Other ones are just as powerful as he is, but he's more relaxed. So you can be more effective in expressing your vows if you're relaxed. But we often are not relaxed and so we need to bring compassion to our lack of relaxation to enable our expression,


not to suppress it. I think this has a ring of truth to me and what why it does describes as an eternal way of having love and power and so even if I changed all the racism in the world, all the sexism, if I changed everything I would still have those circles of violence in my body and so it would go on and on even if I externally changed it and so what this does for me is it gives me a way of owning my own the way I treat people badly based on being treated badly. That whole cycle of like owning my own complicity is what I think they're offering and it doesn't


mean every time you enter this you won't be occupied it's what I think it's true, isn't it? That's how I see it. Thank you and I want to say to you that I for some reason or other I like to bring up difficult stuff that's part of my situation. I don't know if it's a karmic hindrance it's kind of a joy to me to bring up difficult stuff and I find both of these chants difficult for people confession and repentance is difficult, karmic obstruction is difficult the pure and simple color of practice is difficult what Tore Zenji said when I read it I go like what? Are you really saying that? I could imagine


that he is so worked up in his Bodhisattva vow that he's become insane and says this stuff it's possible that he's so such a fanatic Bodhisattva that he can say that all harm that comes to him is coming to help him be free of his karmic effect these things are not coming because of his karmic effect they're coming to help him with his karmic effect that's another way to read it it's not his fault that all this help is coming but it's help that's coming to him to help him become free of his problems not it's coming to him because he's been a bad boy or not because we've been bad people but anyway I think that these topics are difficult


and I hope that you keep questioning them even if you're comfortable with them question them thank you Linda for your questioning and I also find this difficult to believe difficult to understand and easy to question but not easy to question like it's easy to question but easy to have a question what's hard then is when you have a question to put it out there and to put it out there in a relaxed enlightened way and if not see how that feels and try again Karen? Well, I'm intrigued by what you said a little bit about you know, it's good to question yourself but are you open to being questioned yourself? or to questioning yourself and it seems to me that to be really open to question myself takes quite a bit of confidence


which I might have once in a while but I don't have enough confidence so I wonder if you can speak to that to really question yourself takes confidence and also you might say to allow yourself to be questioned by others also requires confidence but confidence in what? I would say confidence for starters, confidence in the necessity of questioning that you have confidence that if you try to practice according to your ideas of practice and you're not open to questioning that you're confident that that's going to backfire that that would be self-righteousness and that a great deal of the evils that are occurring in this country is because of people being religiously self-righteous they're not open to questioning for me it's like do I have confidence in the necessity and the efficacy and the compassion of questioning


I do I think for me to practice ethics if I'm not open to questioning it won't work for me to do ethics according to my idea and also to be questioned about whether questioning is really necessary or helpful that would also apply it does take confidence but not so much in me but maybe some people need more confidence in themselves to open to the teaching that questioning and being questioned questioning myself questioning others, others questioning me to see that I can see that is necessary confidence in that and then me I don't have confidence that I'm going to be able to tolerate that because it's painful when you're questioned but it doesn't say questioning and you being comfortable with the questioning so I actually don't have not so much confidence


I have some confidence that if people question me I will have a hard time with that some of the time I have confidence in that because I have a lot of experience of that and it makes sense to me because your world view is being challenged or questioned so I don't have confidence that I'm going to have an easy time in this question and answer and I often think of the phrase fools rush in where wise or angels fear to tread so I'm the fool I'm treading into texts like this I rush in there and it's because I'm a fool an angel might not go anywhere near this text but who knows because maybe they're actually hovering above the text somewhere helping us question it but I'm not asking you to


I'm asking you I encourage you to question these texts and I would like to I'm interested in bringing things forward that are difficult for us and I I think I'm going to continue to want to do that and and it's five o'clock and I appreciate that you still want to keep talking and here we go congratulations we did it may our intention may our intention may our intention