No Abode Dharma Talk - June 12th, 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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So I have a simple picture of the practice of the way of awakening, the practice of the way of the Buddhas, simple picture, which I talked about recently at a talk that was given from Green Gulch. And the simple practice is to sit or stand or walk upright at the center of all living beings, which is also the center of all hardship and suffering. The basic practice of being present and upright at the center of all beings.


Settling into our seat, where we are right now. Sitting at the center of all beings, which is where all Buddhas are sitting, and all Buddhas have sat, and all Buddhas will sit. can sit in that same center. Each of us is already there, and we can practice that. That's the first part of the practice. Accept, receive your seat in the middle of the universe of beings and practice being there. The next part of the practice is once seated, once situated, once settled where we are, now, then,


Enter the practice of generosity. Open to the practice of generosity at the seat that each of us has right now. Practice giving and receiving and being a gift So in short, the practice I'm proposing as the Buddha way is to sit where we are, to be where we are, at the center of all beings, to accept that that's where we are, to open to all that, and then practice generosity together with all that. Practice generosity with all beings. In the chant that I just recited, and some of you may have joined me, it says that when we meet the true Dharma, we will renounce worldly affairs.


So when we sit, when we are here at the center of all beings, and we are practicing with all beings, practicing generosity with all beings, we will give up worldly affairs. And what are worldly affairs? Worldly affairs are being distracted from the practice. Worldly affairs is forgetting where we are. and forgetting the beings at which we sit in the center of. Forgetting that, being distracted from our seat at the center is a worldly affair. And then also forgetting to practice generosity with everyone we meet, forgetting to give ourselves


and receive ourselves, to give ourselves to others and receive others and be a gift to others and see others as a gift. Worldly affair is to forget generosity. But if we confess and say we're sorry, this is returning to our seat and reentering the reality of giving. Now each of us has some suffering, some hardship, which comes and goes in many ways. We also have, not exactly hardships, but sufferings that from what people do to us, and suffering for what we do to others and suffering for what we see others doing to each other.


The insults and unkindnesses are even more difficult than hardships. And also to see other people's hardships, people who are living in famine, who are living in war, people who are living in places where people are shooting up people they don't even know. All this suffering is around us, and the Buddha way is to sit in the middle of it and practice generosity with it. And the generosity, again, that we're talking about, that I'm talking about, is a generosity which has, we say, three wheels. One wheel is giving, the other world wheel is receiving, and the other gift wheel is the gift.


So in practicing with all beings, we are a donor, we are a generous giver, and we are also a receiver, and we are also a gift. And the practice of generosity at its maturity We say the three worlds are pure, or the three wheels are pure, or the three wheels are empty. Empty means empty of any independent existence of each other. There's no giving without receiving. There's no receiving without giving. And there's no giving or receiving without gift, and so on. There's no gift without receiving and giving. These three things, there's no fixed position. I'm not just a giver of these words.


I'm also a receiver of these words. These words are given to me. You are given to me. I am given to you. And I give, and I'm a gift. And you're a gift to me and each other. Getting distracted from this generosity, this multifaceted generosity with no fixed position, an ungraspable process of giving, which is an ungraspable, inconceivable process of liberation and peace. Forgetting it is a worldly affair, which many of us occasionally do forget. Now we have the opportunity to remember, to train at remembering this giving.


This giving is the essence of the Buddha way, which is practiced at the center of all beings. And also, we use the expression, direct transmission, face-to-face. So that's another way we talk about it, to sit at the center of beings and enter directly, face-to-face transmission. That one of the terms that the ancestor Ehe uses for this generosity of our tradition. This generosity of face-to-face transmission, the actual term he uses is face-giving, menju, face-giving.


And face-giving is short for giving face, giving your face, and receiving a face, and being a face. Again, to forget this face-giving is a worldly affair. When we meet someone, we have the opportunity to remember that we are giving our face to them, and they are giving their face to us, and we are receiving their face. This is the reality of awakening, this face-to-face giving. And again, the process is ungraspable, and we're not in one part of it, we're in we are the whole thing. We are this generosity, that this generosity is who we really are.


It seems to me when I look at the stories of the ancestors, All the stories seem to be stories of giving, of so-called teachers meeting teachers, teachers meeting students, students meeting students. These meetings where they give their face to each other. They may or may not refer to Buddhist teachings, I remember one story of a monk meeting a monk named Wei Cho, who met the great teacher, Fa Yan in China.


And Wei Cho said to Fa Yan, what is Buddha? He gave his Huizhou gave his face to Fa Yen, Fa Yen gave his face to Huizhou, and Huizhou gave his words, What is Buddha? And Fa Yen said, You are Huizhou. Just a simple face-to-face meeting that happened 1,200 years ago that I'm remembering. One time, a great teacher named Matsu was about to die. He was very sick. And I think the director of his monastery came to see him and said, Teacher, how is your venerable health?


The director gave himself, gave his face to the teacher, and the teacher gave his face to the director. And the director asked a question, gave the teacher a question, how is your venerable health? And the teacher said, sun face Buddha, moon face Buddha. Every time we meet someone really, we're meeting a sun-faced Buddha and a moon-faced Buddha. The moon-faced Buddha lives a very short time. When we meet, when we give each other our face, we give each other a face, a Buddha face, which lives a very short time.


We also give each other a Buddha face that lives a long time, a sun-faced Buddha. This is how it was when the great teacher Matsu was dying. And this is how it is today. We are meeting. I am giving my face to you, and you are giving your face to me. We're doing the practice. Or I should say, we are sitting at the center of the world of all suffering beings, and we are giving each other, we are mutually giving each other our faces. Also this term, face giving, that word, that Chinese character for face, which the Japanese pronunciation is men, it not only means face, it also means mask.


So we are also mask giving. We are giving each other our mask. our persona. At the same time that we give our mask, we also give our face. That's not our mask. We give both a mask and a face. And we have to fully give the mask and fully receive the mask in order to awaken to the face. which is there before our parents were born, the face which is always there, sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha. And again, we sometimes forget this face. We need to give the mask, the superficial face, and receive the superficial face.


in order to realize the true face and the Buddha way at the same time. So many Zen stories are arising in my mind which demonstrate this wonderful giving that the ancestors practiced from their seat at the center of all beings.


You know, I could go on and tell many more stories, of this meeting that has gone on, and that is still going on. This endless generosity, this endless practice of giving, receiving, and being a gift. But I also might have told enough stories. And if you need any more, let me know. I have You know, not I have. I don't have these stories. All I got to do is sit here and talk to you, and they enter my consciousness. From the great ocean of suffering, they come and enter my consciousness. So I now welcome you to be a gift, and to receive gifts. to offer your expression. And also, I particularly would like to invite those who have not given us your questions or comments in the past or who are slow to do so.


I especially invite you to come forth and show us your face today. Please. Kate and Paul Page. Good morning. Good morning. I'm waiting to see your face. I can hear your voice, but I'm not seeing your face. Let me start speaking. Now I see it. Hello. Good morning. I just wanted to say what a pleasure it's been to be able to participate at No Abode via Zoom. As I understand, this is the final Zoom meeting and it's been a great gift


in this household to be able to be part of it for the last months. It's one of the joys that has come out of the pandemic. So thank you. I'm glad to hear that. And I think there will be further meetings from Noah Bode on Zoom. Great. In addition to the possibility of starting in-person one-day sittings. So we might have two events a month or more. And so for the time being, the Zoom meetings will continue. Great. Thank you very much. We look forward to them. Thanks for your expression. Vivian. Good morning. Good morning. I'm just feeling called to see you or no, for you to see me.


Cause I think I see you all the time with even with my eyes closed. So I also, I have been seeing this film about Dogen that is on YouTube. And this is my third time watching this movie. And your words about the gift, it really struck me in terms of technology, how in technology, so very few things are free. And usually if we receive something for free, we're going to be, something is going to be taken from us that we don't even know. But this movie that's on YouTube, it has no commercials. It has no weird things that happen in the middle of a free offering.


So that came to me. Thank you. I just got the idea from you of having commercials during my videos on YouTube. Secret commercials for Buddha. Promotions. Yeah. Thank you, Vivian. Christian. I think that's neat. Hello, Christian. Hello, Rev. Eileen, could I have a split screen with Christian? Yes, we're trying to figure out why this is happening.


OK. Can I have Christian back? Let me know when I arrive. There you are. OK, now we got it. Thank you. Nice. Thank you, Rev. You're welcome, Christian. So I would just like to offer my face. I've been following teachings mostly through your website, and I'm here at San Francisco Zen Center today. And I just wanted to offer my face to everyone. Thank you for giving me your face. Peter. Oh, hello. Can you see me? I can hear you and I can see again, Mio. Yeah, that's not OK. I wonder, there I am.


Now I see Peter. Thank you. Thank you very much, Rob. I've been listening to you and seeing your face for many years now and realized that I haven't given you my face. So I just wanted to reciprocate. Way back at Tassajara, when you and I think Stephen Harper were doing Mountains and Rivers, and that was one of my first introductions to you. And then many times at Green Gulch, I've been lucky to hear you speak. And you're a precious treasure for all of us. And it really helps these reminders to locate ourselves in the middle of all beings, in the middle of all the suffering. and to still hold the joy in the midst of all the suffering. So I just wanted to thank you for all of this and share my face as well. Thank you, Rep. And I wish your face was a little better illuminated, but I'll take a dart.


This way, here you go. Oh yeah, that's, yeah, now I see you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. You're welcome. Marcia. Hello, Rhett. Hello, Vajra. I also wanted to show my face and receive my face and your face. And I also wanted to thank you for the reminder that the practice is sitting upright in the midst of hardship and suffering, not to distance oneself from hardship and suffering. And for me, that's, despite all my experience, that's still something I catch myself And I wonder if you could say something about how this practice allows us to be present in the midst of suffering without being overwhelmed by it, or crushed by it, or overly distressed by it, or something like that, perhaps.


Playful with it, but still respectful of it. So I'm proposing that we are sitting at the center whether we admit it or remember it or not. And if I'm sitting at the center and I don't remember that, I am more uncomfortable than if I remember it. I'm sitting at the center and I might feel somewhat, you could say overwhelmed, but one way today, the way overwhelmed comes to me, I'm experiencing the suffering in a way that I turn away from it.


I'm not really overwhelmed. I'm just like, I just don't want to deal with it. So being overwhelmed is kind of like, it's overwhelming me. I don't want it. I'm getting out of here. You know, I'm in danger if I open to this. And if I do, not so much the overwhelm, but if I do turn away from it, I'm gonna feel more uncomfortable than if I remember where I am. So for me, oftentimes when I'm feeling uncomfortable, I remember where I am, and that helps me be at the center. Not not help, it helps me, allow that I'm there. And when I allow that I'm there, I'm still in the middle of suffering, but I'm more comfortable because I'm more truly where I am. And then if I feel overwhelmed, then the question is, okay, do I want to get away from this?


And that question, again, I think could help me remember that I'm at the center. And again, I think I feel better questioning whether I want to get away than just acting on that impulse and distracting myself. So I think when to say, to sit at the center without being overwhelmed, I think at the center, the fear of being overwhelmed is around us. That's part of what's surrounding us is the fear that what's surrounding us will overwhelm us. That's one of our fears. That's one of our difficulties. And the most peaceful, most comfortable place to be is at the center. And trying to be in the suburbs for me, makes me more uncomfortable.


It's trying to be there is another difficulty, which I want to accept, but not actually like go there, just realize, oh, that's part of what's surrounding me is the wish to get out of here. Right. And since we actually are there, it's therefore easier to be there than to try to not be there, right? We think we have this option, but... Thinking that we have option is one of the forms of suffering that surrounds us. Right. And we also see it in other people, and so how to remember that those options are actually things to give our faces to, and they're giving their face to us. But first of all, we have to be there with them. to wake up to that. That all these impulses to run away are really sentient beings to meet and have dharma transmission with.


Thank you, that's helpful. Thank you, Vajra. Thank you very much. Auf Wiedersehen. Rich, you're muted. Good to see you again, Rep. Good to see you. Rich? Yes. OK. When I watch the news and all the suffering, it's very difficult to stay at the center of the suffering. And I feel overwhelmed. And recently, cancer, they've discovered cancer in my colon. And I'm trying to stay at the center of my own suffering. And on Thursday, I'll be operated on.


And the term staying at the center of suffering is very helpful to me. And showing my face today is very helpful to me. Thank you. I pray that you are able to sit at the center of all this suffering. We all are praying for that. Thank you. And then you will be able to practice giving at the center. Jodi. Good morning, Rab. Good morning, Green. Thanks for remembering my name and my face.


I mentioned to you a few times and I'm going to bring it up again today that I'm curious, I'm really interested in this practice of confession and repentance. And I feel like when you mentioned this morning, if we confess that we were distracted, we can reenter the reality of giving and sitting at our seat. And I was wondering if you would consider illustrating that with a story of some kind. Okay, first of all, a slight change in language. If we notice we're distracted and confess it, and also repent means feel some sorrow about being distracted from being present. It's not that then we can return.


Confessing and repenting is the practice. So when you When I confess that I was distracted, I am doing the practice. When I say I'm sorry, that is the practice that I was distracted from. So if I say, oh, I confess I was trying to get away from the center, and I'm sorry that I tried to get away from the center, because I really know that that's silly. I can't get away from my place. But I'm still sorry that I'm a silly boy. It's not that then I can practice, that is the practice. That is the practice, confession and repentance. And then that being the practice, I am now demonstrating my, what do you call it? My sitting at my seat, and I'm demonstrating giving. I give confession and repentance and receive my seat, which I forgot.


And one story that comes to my mind, one of the two stories I told earlier. The monk meets the teacher and the monk says, what is Buddha? That's his confession that he thinks Buddha is something other than him. I mean to say that he has been distracted and he thinks Buddha is something other than him, being him, sitting at the center of all beings. Buddha is sitting at the center of all beings, he is sitting at the center of all beings, but he's gotten distracted from that, so he asks the teacher, what is Buddha? And the teacher doesn't say, you are Buddha, he doesn't say, you are Buddha, he says, you are Huichou. Buddha is you being you.


And that monk forgot. Huey Choe forgot. He got distracted from being himself. And that's my story. But you can also say, actually Huey Choe wasn't distracted. He was just putting on this, he was just giving us this story. He knew that Buddha was Huey Choe being Huey Choe. It's not that Buddha is green, Buddha is you are green. Buddha is green being green. And if you forget that Buddha is green being green, then you can confess and repent, you can confess and say, I'm sorry, I forgot that Buddha is me sitting here being green. And I'm sorry about that. And I understand. Now, I'm back here being me. I didn't remember that.


So thank you for putting that into words. You didn't. Great. So that's the story. Mei, are you there? Is it me? Yeah. Oh, OK. I'm not sure it's my turn yet. Sorry about that. Well, thank you. Thank you for earlier than their turn. I don't know how to start. See, I am distracted.


I didn't anticipate. Okay, I'm gonna take your seat now. Let me come back. Now let's sit here with this compassion about holding myself to be me with your prayer of stillness. And there's also something constantly came to me that why I'm so be overwhelmed or want to walk away from the center. And then I just, during my practice, I just started to discover that is it just mental or is it actually a body?


Because because this body, I just feel like this body, every cell has so much memory. You know, I don't even know. And then you just don't know someday you just bump up some people and then, and something has been triggered. You know, I think today this environment is like a sort of like a trauma, trauma trigger events, trigger everybody's trauma. And we don't even know it's deeply buried in our subconscious, right? A liar. So I'm curious that, Rob, in your practice for such a long time, besides mental, by the way, I think this guy is really powerful. I think this guy is both amazing and also the, how to say, the trouble. But there's other important, dimension which is actually about this body.


It's not just this brain, this mind, it's every cell. You know, in my hands, in my feet, you know, I don't know. I don't know how I can be ensured that maybe, you know, you're triggered again. And then, of course, I always remember that the silence and stillness always come back, come back. But still, sometimes it's just still overwhelmed, be overwhelmed. So I actually talk about body. So if you can offer some insight about this body, I believe this body and mind, they're together, but, you know, when Dogen talk about dropping, dropping, you know, I agree our practice is about dropping layer by layer, dropping our body, dropping our body. But I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I mean, there's just a very long process. Thank you. So I hear that you have this thought, which is supported by your body, and the thought is, I'm not sure.


I don't know. No, I'm saying that to you. You told me that. You said, I'm not sure. You said that. I don't trust my language. You said that one of the last things you said was, I'm not sure. Okay. Did you hear yourself say that? No. You said, I'm not sure, I'm not sure. Okay. And I'm saying, that's a thought. The thought is, I'm not sure. Okay. And that thought is something that you said to me, to us. And that thought was in your consciousness. Okay. And you just said, okay. And that's another thought that you expressed in words that was in your consciousness. And the thought, okay, comes into your consciousness and it comes from your body and your unconscious. So, I often quote the writer D. H. Lawrence who said, this is what I know about my conscious self.


It's like a clearing in the middle of a dark forest. And sometimes deities come in from the forest into the clearing, and then they go back. So you have and I have a conscious self, and it's surrounded by the dark body and dark unconscious, which includes other beings. And from this unconscious comes our conscious, our conscious thought come from the body, and come from the unconscious process into our consciousness. And in our consciousness, we can we have also teachings, which are also coming into the consciousness from the surrounding dark forest of our body. And some of the things that come into our mind are


teachings of be kind to the things that appear in consciousness. And they come from all of our past relationships and karma. All of them come from the consequences of that into our consciousness. And then we relate to them, and then there's a response to them in consciousness. And that transforms the surrounding body and mind. And what I'm saying is, In consciousness, be willing to take your seat in the middle of this dark forest of all beings. Can't see them all. And there, practice generosity. And in the generosity with what comes into consciousness, there will be dropping away. The body and mind will drop away. In other words, consciousness and the body and mind will simultaneously will together be released.


Mary, I believe there's a process, a step is called discernment there. You know, and then because you're still unconsciously grabbing those and whatever and then about to be able to release there is a critical critical discernment but not judgmental right it could be it could be a judgment it could be a discernment the thing is to be with the judgment to be with the discernment while you're practicing generosity being generous with discernments then discernments are then turning points judgments are turning points. So we do have judgments and discernments coming up, but the discernments pivot into wisdom when we practice generosity with them. But that was the, I just felt like eventually something is going to melting away, melting, right?


It's evaporate. Originally it might be the solid state, but eventually I'm just, evaporated into vapor or something. What evaporates, in a sense, in the practice of giving, what evaporates is stinginess. What evaporates is attachment. Because we really can't attach to anything. And when we practice giving, we see that we can't attach to the position of being giver or receiver separately. So by practicing giving with whatever's coming into our consciousness, there is a kind of melting or evaporating of resistance to this process. And if we notice we're resisting the process of the generosity, then we say, I feel like I'm being there's some stinginess here, and I'm sorry. And that again,


is a practice of giving, which frees us from being stuck in resisting the process of giving. And not even grasping the melting. Not even grasping the evaporation. But it's like illusion does seem to evaporate in the midst of the practice of giving. I feel like I can't pick up any word. I stopped doing that. Okay. Carol may address my question. So when she found her seat, she spoke for me. Great.


So I want to explore generosity. And now I know that what I need to do is confess that I don't know, generosity in many ways that my generosity is always tainted with some either stinginess, or a grasping or a desire to get something within my gifts or generosity. And do you have any further ways of working with the non-pure practice of generosity? Well, I wouldn't say I have it, but there is a way. And generosity is working generously with stinginess. But that doesn't mean, when I say that, that I know what generosity is. I just said that. And I trust that.


I trust that if I notice some generosity sort of in my consciousness about myself, or I see it in others, generosity works with that appearance of stinginess. So is the generosity Separate from working with the stinginess? No. The generosity is living with stinginess. It's a way of relating to stinginess. It's not something all by itself. And so to apply generosity to stinginess is an example of the generosity is not separate from the stinginess. The stinginess is a gift to the generosity. Every stinginess is a gift, which I give and which I receive. Go ahead.


So does the stinginess actually call generosity into being? Do they co-arise? They co-arise, yeah. There's no stinginess without generosity. There would be no way to be stingy without generosity. Stinginess is not Generosity, right? There's no you without not you. But that doesn't mean I know what you are because you are also not you and not you is a pretty big thing. And same with generosity. Stinginess is a pretty big thing because stinginess, there's lots of kinds of stinginess and generosity works with all of them. Yeah. And each individual type of stinginess, there's a generosity for that particular stinginess. And this is how the three world, the three wheels of giving work with everything, including generosity, excluding stinginess.


Generosity that doesn't have any stinginess around is, you know, a child's version of immature version of giving. We can start with that and be generous with that immature version. And then practicing generosity with an immature version of generosity, which excludes stinginess. But great generosity includes infinite, all the kinds of stinginess that there are in the universe. Thank you. You're welcome. Maloha. Maloha, you're up. Oh, there, there. Now I'm unmuted. Oh, good morning, Rev. Good morning. You're muted again.


Just a button that said unmuted. Okay, there I go. Now. You can hear me. I'm always happy to see your face. That's Pono, he's saying hi. I was thinking as you were talking about how that saying came to me of giving and receiving are one in truth, that it's the same. in some way to give and receive that when you're giving to us, we're receiving from you. And to be a gift. And to be a gift. Yeah. What I notice for myself sometimes is that the feeling of generosity is there. And then sometimes I'm feeling like I'm holding back. And Maybe holding back from like fear of being judged or something like if I was going to do something and tape it or leave something, a practice.


And then I find myself kind of holding back from wanting to just fully be out there and sharing. And so I wonder if you could say something about that. Yeah, well, I think we were just talking about stinginess, right? I guess I just never thought of that word. Holding back is another word for stinginess. So being generous with holding back, now you're practicing generosity again. Here I am, I'm a person who's holding back. That's who I am. I'm like here, I'm like totally holding back. Here I am, I'm giving you this holding back person. Take, please take him and take him for a walk. This is my gift. I'm a holding back person. I'm a stingy person. And to really, you know, really be generous towards my own holding back. And if other people are holding back, be generous and let them be a person who's holding back.


And also you might notice maybe they're holding back because they're afraid. Be generous with their fear too. Yeah, but whatever you see, welcome it. Whatever you see, receive it as a gift and be a receiver of it as a gift and also give yourself to the one who's holding back. And also to the one who's holding back, receive generosity from the universe who receives you as a gift, who receives the holding back So I can see that as a gift. And even before you see it as a gift, you can remember the teaching that it is. And then you wonder, how is it a gift? Yeah. Would you say more about that, please? How can I shift my awareness around it? to see that if I'm holding, see, I have a judgment that if I'm holding back, say I'm holding back a gift or something that I wanted to share, that then I would judge myself as not being generous enough because I'm not, I'm not being fully generous by sharing something like the Dharma or something like that, that if I'm holding it back, then I'm not being generous.


So how do I be generous with so you're saying i need to have love and compassion for myself for when i'm holding back but then you're saying that holding back is explain the last part again there's no not holding back there's no not holding back without holding back when you're holding back there's also not holding there's no stinginess without generosity. So when you're holding back, the not holding back, the generosity is there already. And you can remember that. Remembering it promotes your remembering it. When I'm holding back, That's a gift to me to remember not holding back.


But not pushing holding back away, just remembering not holding back. Because everything is in this process of generosity. Holding back's in the process, not holding back's in the process. And we're talking now to train our body and mind to remember generosity. to remember it no matter what is going on. Thank you. And I'm so grateful for you. I'm grateful for you too. Lando. Lando. Good morning, Brad. Welcome, Landau. Thank you. I'm answering the call to share my face.


Thank you. With some trepidation, I might add. So you're sharing your face, and you're also sharing your trepidation. Yes. Thank you for giving me your trepidation. You're welcome. Thank you for inviting The word stinginess is interesting because I noticed that once you put stinginess out there next to generosity, I can clearly see that there is still a lot of investment in stinginess compared to investment in generosity. Yeah, stinginess is... So when you make an investment, and hold on to it, it's stinginess. Yeah. But when you make an investment... But you can also make an investment as a gift.


They turn on each other. Investment and giving. Stinginess and investment. Non-investment. Investment, giveaway investment. What advice would you give to me when I say that I recognize the importance of generosity, and I can see the benefit of generosity, and I would like to be generous. I aspire to be a generous person. Yet, at a deep emotional level, so much has been invested in holding back. So much has been invested in not being generous, but in being sort of protective of the self, right?


For whatever reason. I really feel that I have to break through several layers of conditioning in order to get to the generosity that I aspire to. Even in answering the call to share my face today, it took some doing, actually. So, there is sort of, on a conceptual level, on a relative superficial level, there is this aspiration, but it hasn't really cut to the quick yet. it hasn't really met the fire that I feel for practice in general. I feel that I'm really putting myself, that I'm really exposing myself when it comes to sharing my face. That's where the fear comes in. And that's where I, there's a lot of hesitation there.


Does that make sense? Do you say fear and hesitation? I believe I did, yeah. So if you want to learn about practicing generosity, those are two particular opportunities to practice it, fear and hesitation.


Fear, welcome it. Hesitation, welcome it. Those are specifics. And those are both opportunities to remember, those are both calling you, actually, to remember generosity. They want you, the hesitation and the fear want to be met with generosity. So when they arise, they are particular opportunities for generosity, to welcome them. and to realize that you received those gifts, and you also can give a gift to them by welcoming them. So they were given to you, and now you give welcoming to them.


You let them be. Even though the hesitation was the hesitation to give, you unhesitatingly, maybe, practice giving towards the hesitation to give. You say, oh yeah, right, I just hesitated to give, and now I'm like really being generous with my hesitation to give, wow. And the unhesitating giving is never separate from the hesitating giving. Because giving is the operative word? Because giving is reality. And you can use the word giving to operate the reality machine. The machine of generosity, the machine of reality is giving, receiving, and gift, and not getting stuck in any part of the process.


And here comes a gift called hesitation. Here comes a gift called fear. Welcome the fear. Welcome the hesitation. I recognize the getting stuck part, because... There's another gift, getting stuck. Yes, and that's the one I know relatively well, I would say, because when I feel stuck, then I know that there's only one thing left to do, and that's to surrender, or to answer the call, in this case, to share my face. And it's easier to do that for me recognize that I'm stuck because I'm with my back against the wall and there's nowhere to go. In meeting fear or in meeting hesitation, I still feel, I'm still thinking, there's still an opportunity for me to think, to think my way out of it and to negotiate with the fear, to negotiate with the hesitation. So if there's any fear, if there's any negotiation going on, that's another gift.


Every negotiation in your mind is a gift. And it's also a gift that's calling for a gift. It's a gift to you calling for you to be generous towards the negotiation. Then I'm out of excuses. Say again. Then I'm out of excuses. I don't know what word you're saying there. That I am out of excuses. You're out of excuses, did you say? Yeah, to be stingy with welcoming. You're temporarily out of excuses for being stingy. Temporarily out of excuses. Yeah, let's put a disclaimer on it. Thank you. You're welcome. Oscar. Hello, Rev.


Thank you very much for this teaching. And when it began, when you introduced the subject of generosity again, my heart expanded because it took me back to my earliest sittings with you and how that teaching of the Paramitas and of Dana in particular have been so influential in my life. By influential, I mean I'm reminded often about how I'm not generous. So I just would like to thank you for this teaching over the years. And I'd like to provide another version of the question that I've been hearing. I guess I'm asking for yet another gift from you.


How does one be generous? How can I be generous when I am actually trying to get something? I want to see something happen. I want I want to cause some change that some people are not, think differently about, don't want to see change. So there's some, you know, you could say there's a conflict, difference of opinion. Yes. is the way we become free of a life of trying to get things. The way that giving freezes from a life of trying to get is by being generous towards the impulses to get.


The impulses to get are naturally part of our animal existence. It kind of gives them food and so on. It's natural. However, we sometimes get trapped in this acquisitive mode. Generosity is to free us from our natural greediness and acquisitiveness. But the way it frees us is by being applied to the getting. The getting is an impurity in the giving. However, it's also the opportunity. The impurity of the practice is the opportunity for the practice. The inquisitive or the getting of the intention is an opportunity for generosity. If I reach over to get this glass of water, I might notice that I'm doing this to get the cup.


And I practiced generosity towards that impulse to get the cup. But then I noticed, oh, I could just as well reach for the cup as a gift, as a gift to the cup, as a gift to myself, even though the cup is empty now. I just used the cup as an opportunity for giving. And if I was really thirsty, I might really try to get the cup even before I remember. But then it's an opportunity for me to remember, oh, I was really greedy there. And I really let myself be that greedy guy. And so in that way, without getting rid of our natural habit of trying to get, we can practice giving before it goes away. So we say, the horse arrives before the donkey leaves. The generosity of giving arrives before getting disappears.


Giving comes and meets the getting, and frees the getting. Because we tend to get stuck in getting. We don't tend to get stuck in generosity. We might get stuck in getting an idea of generosity, You might get stuck in the idea of generosity. And then again, after you're stuck, you apply generosity. I still have an idea of generosity, but I'm not stuck in it. Is being stuck a result of clinging to an idea? It's synonymous. Getting stuck is synonymous with clinging to an idea. Getting stuck is synonymous with clinging. But clinging is an opportunity for generosity. And bringing generosity to clinging, we realize that the clinging is never separate from generosity and we're free of it.


And we're free of generosity too, because generosity is totally inseparable from clinging. And the generosity melts the clinging, and the clinging melts the generosity. Generosity is willing to be melted. We may have some resistance to being melted. Generosity can help the clinging melt. Thank you very much. Isabelle? I'm surprised that it's my turn and I remembered something somebody gave in a speech while you were


giving your Dharma talk before. And I wanted to share that little story maybe or thing that came into my mind. And thank you for the 90 or more faces that meet here tonight. and the 90 or more invisible beings that meet also tonight. I'm happy to maybe know that there are the faces or think or imagine that there are the faces and the invisible beings behind the faces. Thank you. You're welcome. Thank you for acknowledging The face behind the mask. The invisible face behind the mask.


Why don't I just go ahead? So I'm in the boat with my friend Landau, the trepidation, fear and trepidation boat every time I have to do something like this. So, but here I am. Now that I know I have a friend in the boat, I'm better. So, um, First off, I just wanted to say how grateful I am to you for doing these talks every month, you know, in this past year. And also I'm so happy to hear that you're going to continue doing those because it's just, it's very helpful. So I just want to start with that. Thank you very much. And then the other thing that's coming up is I intellectually believe that me, my person and every other being is sitting at the center of everything.


Each being includes everything. And I hope someday to actually truly realize that that's my aspiration. And it's helpful for you to talk about generosity. Just to remember whatever you're doing, wherever you are, the generosity needs to be a part of that. Well, it is a part of it. Well, yes. And you need to be aware of it in order to realize it. You need to remember it in order to realize it. You need to practice it. Right. It's already reality. So if you want to realize what you said you do, then it's necessary to practice it and remember it.


Right. Which you also want to do. Yes. So yes, it's remembering is the thing. Yeah, and that's the basic meaning of mindfulness, is to remember. Remember generosity. Be mindful of generosity. And if I may mention, one other thing you said was that intellectually, it makes sense to you that you include everything. However, sometimes, even though you have heard that teaching and you kind of agree with it, sometimes you might or I might feel, well, I include everything. I've heard that teaching. I think it's true, but I don't feel like I include that person right now. I don't feel like I include that, I don't know what, that cruel person that I see there.


And then if I feel like I don't include them, I can see how, you know, as people say, I can see how that works for me. And, you know, it doesn't work very well for me when I think I don't include some monster. I do try to practice, you know, when I realize, you know, I see something, somebody that's, you know, you watch the news and there's people shooting other people and killing them And it's so sad. It continues to be terrible and continue to be sad. And I include them. Yeah, I do include them. And I'm included in them. Yes. And if I can't do one or both of those, then I can see what happens to me. If I don't include. Yeah. And I can see that's not the way I want to be. Right. I am. surrounded by all this cruelty, and I'm not in it, and it's not in me, then it just gets more solid.


Yeah. Yeah. That's not practicing generosity. Generosity is, I'm included in all the evil of the world, and all the evil in the world is included in me. That's generosity. That's how to free people from evil. And you can see, I can see, if there's some evil there, and I don't include it, it has a bad effect on me. Right. It's a negative. It's a negative. It's a life denying attitude. It's not generous. That monster is outside me is not me. That other is not me. All the others are me. All the others are me. All of them are included in me, I'm included in all of them. That's the meditation. And when we realize that, we're Buddha. And we're struggling to realize that.


And we have so many opportunities to struggle. We do. I look forward to seeing you in person someday soon. I look forward to meeting your mask in person. Thank you, Rob. You're welcome. Thank you. Wendy. Wendy. Hello. Hello. It's like waiting outside the temple, waiting for your name to be called. First of all, I wanted to say I'm really glad that your last talk, which was very poignant, was not your last talk. I'm glad to see you here today, but it was really important and poignant teaching which you're following on with today.


For those of you who did not hear the talk, she's referring to me saying that this is my will and testament. And today, I'm also giving you my will and testament. Thank you. Again, I'm giving my will and testament. Received. I have such an impulse to run away. Such an opportunity for generosity. Yes. Body and mind have just, as May said, this thing about at the cellular level, I really, really resonated with that. All my little cells were going like this. There's just running away from this. I was going to lower my hand.


Just running away. We always said, you know, how close are my running shoes to the door? That was always kind of an indicator. Yep. It's part of our nervous system. Keep moving. Yeah. It's, it's a very important thing for us to live. Got to get those starting from little kids, got to get those kids moving to get their muscles to grow and learn those skills. You know, got to think that it's really good to go and get something. It'll be so much fun to get us moving. It's part of our animal thing. And it's a great opportunity for practice. It really is. And it's probably not going to go away. Even when we can't run away anymore, we're still going to think about running away. Yeah. Even when we're bedridden, we're going to still be dreaming. Yes, I'll still have a pair of running shoes underneath the bed.


um and thank you for the remind the reminder about confession too um i do um do the chat uh confession and repentance in the mornings but um just to be here and to confess um in front of the great assembly and your face is um uh well it's invaluable and reminder. So I confess basically how much I forget. And I vow to when you and when you can, you confess that you forget. And you also want to tell us how you feel when you notice that you forgot. Repent, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I vow to remember. And I really want, now I even more want to, now that I've done my confession and repentance.


The confession of repentance is to refresh our vow to do what we forgot to do. And that's to remember. True and simple color of true practice. The true mind of faith, the true body of faith. Thank you for the gift I've received. And I hope that I also would like to give up the mask. And also you'd like to give this gift that you've received, right? Yes. The way to give up the mask is by giving the mask. And you're giving it right now, thank you. Thank you, dear teacher. You're welcome. Norbert.


Welcome, Norbert. Thank you, Reb. I'm just dealing with a little technology. Can you hear me? Well, thank you for the teaching and for all of them. And also thank you for the Noah boat. It's a wonderful place. So I just wanted to talk about this. So there's a pushing away. And there's a pulling towards. And these are one. And they're both opportunities. So everything's an opportunity. And the opportunity in this life, opportunity is a challenge. And then there's different kinds of challenges like pushing away and pulling towards, or did I get that?


Pushing away and pulling towards, yeah. So kind of a challenge can be remembering to breathe, right? In the remembering. But it's like, it's a good tool. It's a good tool to use. And- Remembering is a good tool? remembering. In this case, breathing. If I talk about remembering to breathe, which usually means that there's something that I'm pushing away or find to be a challenge. But to see the challenge as an opportunity, that's really interesting. Because when I first see challenges, or if I go in the, even now, or when I go in the past, and I see challenges, certainly then, they don't seem like opportunities, or maybe they do.


Anyway, I don't think of them as challenges, I think of them as problems, not opportunities. So I don't see them as opportunities. Yes, and so what you do is see problems as opportunities, also. Problems and challenges. Try to be mindful that they're opportunities. Right, and in trying to do that, as I live my life, I do some gardening, as you might know. And gardening doesn't feel like a problem, right, when I do it. Although there's plenty of problems in gardening, right? This problem, that problem. You have to make all these decisions. The whole thing just doesn't seem like a problem at all, although there's plenty of problems there. So yeah. That's called a Zen garden. So that's like garden just seems like opportunity after opportunity. Exactly.


I was about to say that. you know, in gardening, the what you could call a challenge, because pushing away and pulling towards that one thing, what you could call a challenge and guard when I'm gardening, it feels just like, oh, this is a great, you know, like, maybe I should say wonderful opportunity after wonderful opportunity, even if this plant is kind of having a hard time or dying or whatever, you're ripping it out. So, like, I have this thing here, which I just want to show. I don't know when you can see it. I guess you can see it now. Like, oh, excuse me, I forgot to do this. Is that, that's better. You can see me better there. Yeah. Thank you. You're welcome. I can't turn this thing around right now. So the computer, so anyway, here's a little seedling that's, that I found as a tiny, tiny thing and now it's growing, but just, so there it is. Are you going to take that with you to the East Coast?


Well, I debated on that. And yeah, I'm going to take this and another one just like it. I found these two in a trash pile and they were this big. Right. That big. So what is it? What kind of plant is it? I thought it was a sycamore tree because it was right under a bunch of sycamores. But it's not. I recently I began to doubt that. And it's a Japanese maple. Oh, wow. Yeah, that's what I thought it was. Yeah, I thought no, he's not showing me a Japanese maple because he knows I'm totally inundated with Japanese maples. But what I was the reason I show this is because like, you know, when I'm doing this, It's like an opportunity. It doesn't feel like a challenge, if you understand how I'm saying it. Then when you look at somebody, a person, even an animal, but especially a human being, it's the same thing, but it can be more challenging.


It can feel more like a challenge and opportunity. So anyway, in working with what I'm saying is and these are like tools and to try to use these tools to I don't want to say connect, but in but actually I should to try to use these tools like one feels like opportunity. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. The other one, it's like I can't remember to breathe. I forgot to breathe. You know, and usually it's in challenging situation, which is what you want to push away and just trying to use these things to to see that they're one, and so therefore could help on the side that I have difficulty. And anyway, also in doing all this right now, I wanted to present my face to you. Thank you. You're welcome. Thank you. Addie, do you want to talk to them?


Hi. My little eight-year-old granddaughter happens to be here with me this very moment. So, question. I'm reading this book, listening to books on tape. It's a book by Isabel Wilkerson called The Warmth of Other Suns. And it's, do you know that book? Yeah, somebody gave it to me and I've been reading it. Me too. And I, um, the suffering in it, it's, uh, I feel overwhelmed at times and I feel I, I have to stop and go away and, and I'm, Guess I'm trying to, just a couple minutes ago I raised my hand because you said, you have to see how the evil and the good are together in you.


And that I don't quite understand that, although I would like to. And even as my little granddaughter is sitting here with us. Yeah, I would like you to see it too. And that way you're free of evil and good. To be clinging to good is evil. To cling to life, you know, evil is live backwards. To cling to live is evil. Oh, okay. So, we want to be free of life and death. by practicing generosity towards both. You want to be free of evil and good, because being stuck in good is evil. Or being possessive of good and, you know, like, I got the good and they're the evil.


That's evil. But that evil is not separate from good. To see that liberates us from good and evil. It's beyond good and evil, but it's by fully engaging with evil, being generous with evil, being careful and respectful of evil, not putting it outside, not exiling it. The more we excite evil, the more we exile it, the more powerful it becomes. It thrives on exile. Yeah, I think I've been doing that. but it really wants compassion. Evil wants generosity, so it can relax and enter into non-duality with good. Yes. But this is challenging, and the challenge is an opportunity. Yes. Thank you. You're welcome.


The last question will be from Like winning the lotto. Good morning. You said something earlier about... Okay, now I'm unmuted. You were talking earlier about offering your true face And then you said something about, sometimes we offer the mask. And then you said more about that, something like, I can't remember what it was, like, through the mask, you find the two faces. Can you say more about what you had? Can you repeat that? Or I have some questions about it. Well, I could say a lot about it. But let me just start by saying a little, which is,


Right now I'm offering you my apparent visible face. And I'm also offering you my invisible face, who I really am. And you can see my mask, my person. But my face, who I really am, is more than just how I appear as a person. and I offer you both. And practicing generosity with the face that you're offering me, the mask, and being generous with my mask, we will realize and discover a face which is not just our mask. But the nice thing about this term, menju, is that the word men means both face and mask. So our mask, our person is inseparable from our true face.


And being generous with our apparent face, with our fears of presenting it, with our, I don't know what, what's the word, negotiations to make it look a certain way, like getting facelifts and stuff. That's okay to get faceless, but are you doing it as an act of generosity to your mask? Are you doing it in an ungenerous way? Do you wash your face in an ungenerous way or do you wash it as a gift? If you wash it as a gift, then it'll be easier to give it as a gift. And giving it as a gift, you also give your original face. which is what we really wanna give, but we can't give it separate from our superficial face, our apparent face. That's form and emptiness. Form and emptiness, yeah.


Thank you. Our form face and our emptiness face. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you all for another wonderful meeting. I pray for your health and your practice. Beings are numberless. I vow to save them. Afflictions are inexhaustible.