No Abode Dharma Talk - May 8th, 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 everybody to a KnowAbode Saturday event. I want to offer a little bit to you. I did not hear this directly from Suzuki Roshi face to face, but I heard indirectly that he wanted to come to America to give us a gift. He wanted to give us a gift. And I don't remember the name of the gift being named.


There's some possible words you could put to it, but I think the main thing I wanted to say today is he wanted to give us a gift, a good gift. A part of what I heard was that after the Second World War, Japan's industrial capacity had been severely diminished. So the Japanese were not able to produce high quality goods for some time. And so most of what came to America was cheap, poorly made productions. And The story I heard is that Suzuki Roshi wanted to give some really carefully and thoroughly and intimately produced gifts, intimately created offerings to the Western people.


And when we give a gift, if it's really given, we completely let go of it when we give it. And we give it without expectations of how it's used. Maybe wishes of how it's used, but we give up our wishes, we make our wishes gifts too. We don't give a gift with holding on to trying to control the future of the gift, how the gift is used, and who uses it. So in this way, giving gifts is an opportunity to do something without trying to control the gift, the giving, or the receiver.


And I felt that that was the way Suzuki Roshi gave his many gifts to us. So I don't know exactly what he gave, but we have been working with it all these years. And learning all these years, I think, how to practice giving. So one might say that the way of awakening is the way of giving.


And again, giving, letting go completely of the gift. And now might be a time for me to mention again that I feel gratitude to this assembly and past assemblies for generously giving gifts to this temple, to this community. And I just want you to know that The gifts that you give on this PayPal opportunity, they go to supporting Noah Bode. The gifts do not go to the speaker here. So thank you so much for your generous support of this little temple.


And the little temple is doing very well because it lives in an ocean of generosity. And you are that ocean of generosity. I think many of you heard also the statement that the way of awakening is fundamentally leaping. And you could also say that giving is fundamentally leaping beyond abundance and poverty. Whether we're rich or poor,


We leap beyond it and give everything to all beings. This is the way of awakening, one might say. In the way of awakening, we're not trying to get awakening. We're not trying to get delusion. We're not trying to get affliction. We're not trying to get rid of affliction. We are practicing giving. Another way to say it is the Buddha way, the way of awakening, is fundamentally turning, turning, pivoting between giving and receiving.


and being a gift and being a giver. Turning, pivoting, this is the way of awakening. Not settling in awakening, not settling in delusion, not settling in affliction, not settling in freedom, turning at the center of all beings in the universe. This is awakening this morning, this afternoon, this evening. This is the activity of awakening, the turning activity of awakening. All things provide no basis for grasping.


So we practice, we live in accord with not grasping anything and giving and receiving everything. Sentient beings are naturally and ignorantly inclined to live in order to get things, in order to acquire things. This is our natural way of ignorance. And without trying to get rid of our natural ignorance of living to get, we practice awakening and turn and leap from getting to giving. We learn to turn from a life of getting to a life of giving.


We give our lives to realize that, not even being stuck in giving, not even being stuck in giving. So, the Buddha is the awakened one, and awakening is nothing in and of itself. Therefore, it constantly leaps free of itself. Someone said to me recently, does Buddha Does awakening want us to change? Things are changing all the time.


Does awakening want us to change? See, it seems to me that awakening accepts and understands that we are changing. Does awakening want something? I propose that awakening does want something. What does it want? It wants us to open to Buddha's wisdom. Awakening wants us to open to giving. Awakening wants us to see the demonstration and learn about giving. Awakening wants us to enter, to awaken to awakening. It wishes that for us. It wishes for us to receive the gift of Buddha's wisdom. And awakening wants us to enter Buddha's wisdom.


Awakening wants us to enter the pivotal activity of generosity. Sometimes people tell me that they want to make a positive change in the world. Buddha does not oppose this wish. Buddha wants, rather than, rather than or rather than us changing, not rather than, Buddha accepts that we are changing and Buddha wants the changing thing that we are to become fully itself and fully awakened.


Buddha wants us to awaken to our true self. not change into our true self because we already are, but realize it. And you might say, well, that's a change. And I won't argue with you if you say so. But even though I won't argue with you, I think for us to become who we are is not a change. It is just the truth. So I want us to realize the truth. I want us to realize wisdom. And if we realize wisdom, we will want others to realize wisdom.


And we will make our life a gift for wisdom. I predict that. I wish to free all beings so they may dwell in peace. And sometimes we say, we speak of our unceasing effort to free all beings so they may live in peace. Today I would like to emphasize our unceasing effort of freeing all beings. The Buddha's effort is freeing all beings. It's not an effort to free all beings.


It is the effort of freeing. Freeing beings is an effort, but it's not an effort free them, it's the effort of freeing. Freeing is an effortful event. And that is awakening. The effort of awakening, the effort of generosity itself. Not the effort to be awake, the effort of awakening. Not the effort to be generous, the effort of generosity. Not the activity to liberate beings, the effort of liberating all beings. This is at the center of awakening, at the center of giving.


So I invite all of us to practice in accord with awakening. I also want to, what's the word, let you know that I'm getting closer to feeling like we might be able to have in-person sittings again at this little temple, that we might be able to come here and be together on a Saturday or some other day and sit together and talk together face-to-face. further discussions will be necessary, but also want to say that before resuming, we may want to come to some agreements about how to take care of the temple.


Since we're starting up again newly, we might want to have some meetings where we discuss who wants to take care of what here at the temple. when we have events. So when the time is right, we will invite those of you who live not so far away to come here and discuss how we might resume our face-to-face meetings here. So thank you very much for coming today. And I I think maybe you have some gifts to give. I think all of you are a gift that wants to be given. So I welcome your gift giving as you wish. Whatever you wanna give, you're welcome to give it.


Homa. Homa. Welcome, Homa. Good morning, everybody. I'm interested in the statement you mentioned. Homa, I can't hear you. OK, can you hear me now? I still can't hear you. Can you hear me now? No, it's not. Keep talking. I think someone's going to try to help with you to be able to be heard. I don't think it's Homa because we can hear her. We can hear Homa. We can hear her, but you can't hear her. Okay, keep talking, Homa. Maybe sing a song. I can't hear you though. Okay. My question is, I'm interested in your statement.


You mentioned, I want you to realize wisdom and that's your wish. He can't hear you. No. So Rev has to turn up his volume. It's the volume of his speakers. He's got to turn down somehow. You might have it on mute. Who can talk to Rev? Amanda, maybe you could try to talk to me, for starters. See if you can get to me. So Rev, can you hear me? This is Irene. No, he's not here. You're muted, Amanda. We might have to call him. Maybe he has a phone. You think the chat? We can write him. The chat's not on. Can you speak, Amanda? Open up the chat. We may have to make a sign.


Oh, that's a great idea. Why don't we write, Rev, you're muted or something and put it on a piece of paper. I'll do it. His speaker volume is down. I can hear now. You can? OK. Okay, so Homa. Okay, so you mentioned that I want you to realize wisdom, and that is your wish. Now, I see here the I, and I see here you, And what I see is that now wisdom has become the object of me and you or I and you to be seen. No, realized.


Realized. Okay. Realized. Okay. I just try to understand what cannot be realized, which we keep going beyond it. So wisdom is, is not something that is graspable, is not something that can be, we can hold on to. Then this, I and you and me, I see that as a obstacle of this whole wisdom seeing. So you see it as an obstacle. I and me and you, yes. But I or there is a vision that doesn't see it as an obstacle but sees it as something that can realize wisdom.


So the obstacle, I want the obstacle to realize wisdom. I want the obstacle to realize wisdom. So the obstacle must see... No, no, no. Not see. Realize. Realize. When I say see, I mean realize. I want the obstacle to be the wisdom. I want the wisdom to be the obstacle. Yes. Being the obstacle Free of the obstacle is actually seeing the obstacle. With wisdom, did you say free of the obstacle is not the obstacle? Seeing. You call it realizing, I call it seeing. You can say seeing, but that's not what I'm wishing. So you can wish something different. I wish that you and I will realize that the thing of you and I...


that that will realize wisdom. And if you want to call you and I an obstacle, then I want the obstacle of us, I want our obstacle-ness to realize wisdom. I want everything to realize wisdom. So you're saying that realizing the obstacle, which is the empty of its own obstacle being empty of its own self is that what needs to be realized. So that therefore it would be free of the I and you in the real. I see that. I see it. I see it. Okay. Okay. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And I want that. Very. Hi, Rab.


Hi, Rab. Hi, Barry and Kim. Good morning, Rab. In your book, Entering the Mind of Buddha, you give the example of when it's not necessary to or not essential to follow the precepts. If somebody is going to be harmed by somebody, you may say, if you know where they are, you must tell me. And you say, well, I don't know. And so my question is really in those situations where you do tell a lie to protect somebody, when, how do you advise yourself that you're not deluding yourself? I need the advice really. Okay. So I'm going to, I think this person would be protected if I didn't tell the truth about his whereabouts in your example. but then it becomes my decision to decide what would be a benefit to all beings. So my question is, how do you tread that line between what you consider to be a benefit to all beings and what could be your delusion?


So do you understand my question? Thank you. Yeah, I think that the Bodhisattva precepts, some precepts are like, precepts which you try to realize literally, even if doing it literally would be unkind. Like if somebody wants to hurt somebody and they ask you where they are, it might be unkind to tell the person. But you do tell them because you're not going to lie. So that's one kind of precept. Bodhisattva precepts are, you're always concerned with what is kind. That's what you are. And also, it is kind to be open to... For me, it is kind to be open to my delusion.


So I'm trying to be kind to you right now. I am. I might be totally deluded about my kindness. And I think, for me, it's a more wholehearted kindness that is open to me actually being in a dream of kindness. And being open to the possibility that I'm dreaming of kindness, even though it's a good dream, it would also be appropriate for me to welcome you to let me know if you think I have a deluded idea of kindness. Because to realize the bodhisattva precepts, which are about compassion and wisdom, not about self-righteousness, I need feedback from others. So, you're aware that you might be deluded and it's good to keep that awareness open at all times.


that you might be deluded. It's possible. I understand your answer. And I think I still wanted to go a little further into the question of, in your example specifically, Am I more likely to be kind to the person who's asking? And would it necessarily be the right thing to do to protect the person who's being sought? Because perhaps it's better for them to get caught, maybe, because then they'll be caught by this person and get a chance to repent. So how do you know whether your act of kindness is just something, as you say, a dream of kindness? How do you advise yourself in that situation? Well, in the situation you just described, if you thought it would be beneficial to the person to get caught, then you might tell the person where they are so they can get caught because it might be helpful to them. And that's my question.


How do you make that decision? Who's going to benefit most? The person doing the catching or the person being caught? Because then that's just your guess, really, or your... Your guess, yeah. It is your guess. It's always your guess. Okay. What you're talking about is guessing, is mental calculation. Right. Now, and in that case, you could be deluded. Definitely. So let's go back to your question. You said, how do you decide? And how you actually decide is not something you can get a hold of. You can't grasp how you decide. You also can't grasp the decision. There's no basis for grasping anything in this process of awakening. Thank you. You're welcome.


Angela. Hello. Hello. Can you hear me? Okay. Thank you for your generosity and kindness. and respect your example and practice is deeply appreciated. I... You're welcome. And thank you for all those things you just said. You're welcome. I think that sometimes I'm generous.


That's okay. And I feel that I receive generosity. I feel there's an abundance of generosity that is shared with me. You feel that? And I think that there is, and I believe that there is. Thank you for that. I think that there is. And I question sometimes if I believe that there is. I am working intimately with my mother.


And I was wondering if you could help me. I feel often that And I think that I'm giving to her. And sometimes I see how she's giving to me. Yet, I get stuck. And I find that obstacles arise in being able to meet her with kindness and generosity. And I continue to have conversation with her.


And yes. So can I ask a question? Yes. I was kind of curious, I heard about you trying to, you making an effort, making the effort of being kind to her. And then I thought you said something like an obstacle comes up? Yes. What's, tell me about the obstacle. There's this effort of being kind to your mother, what's the obstacle? when it appears that she's been unkind to me. That what? She's unkind to me. She's unkind to you? Oh, okay. And that's an obstacle to you being kind?


Yes, and then it's difficult. How is it an obstacle when she seems to be unkind to you? How is that an obstacle to you being kind to that appearance of her unkindness? How is it an obstacle? Well, what I notice is at times, anger arises, you know, towards her. And then I'm not able to Yes. So, again, I'm trying to look at the situation with you, okay? So there's this effort to be kind, and then there's this appearance of an unkind person, and then anger comes. So is the anger an obstacle to the practice of kindness?


It seems that way. Seems that way, right. So I would suggest that the anger is not really an obstacle. And the unkindness isn't an obstacle. Her unkindness. It's how I'm sorry. It's, it's the opportunity. So you're, you're involved, you're in this ocean of kindness. You're part of the kindness process. And then unkind appearances come up in this practice. Those unkind appearances are the opportunities for the kindness. So we don't just practice kindness towards kind people. We also want to practice it towards apparently unkind people, right? But sometimes when an unkind face appears, we forget practice of kindness.


But that's not because the unkind faces an obstacle. It's that particular opportunity we forgot to practice with. We got confused or we got angry. But again, the confusion or the anger is also another opportunity. So in this dynamic situation of practicing kindness, these various You could say, I say opportunities, but they could also be tests, like tests of your practice. Can you remember your practice when this face appears? And the answer sometimes is no, I can't remember my practice at that moment. But it isn't that the thing that's appearing is an obstacle. That's not the obstacle, that's the opportunity. Now, when we forget, you could say forgetting is an obstacle, but as soon as you forget, the obstacle turns into another opportunity for kindness.


So, again, being kind towards my own forgetting, what I really want to do, be kind, and forgetting to be kind to my anger. If I forget to be kind to the appearance of unkindness in others, that's one forgetting. then I get angry, and then if I forget to be kind to my anger, that's another forgetting. So, it is difficult when we're trying to be kind to do so when people offer us angry faces, or angry gestures, or angry words. It's challenging to remember that this too is an opportunity. But this is training us so that we can continue the practice no matter what's given to us. So these things are given to you to refine and deepen your practice of kindness because sometimes you are successful at practicing kindness, right?


So these are the advanced tests, the advanced opportunities. And sometimes they're so advanced that you just forget the practice you want to do. But they're not really obstacles. They're like opportunities to deepen your practice. And when you can't avail yourself of the opportunity, then you say, oops, I missed it. I missed being kind. I got tricked. I forgot that this is an opportunity. And I thought that this actually was an opportunity to not be kind. So then I wasn't kind. But now I see that, and I'm sorry. But if you ask me, should you go and get in some situation where lots of people are really mean to you, I might say, well, let's not go. We don't have to go look for problems. We have enough right where we are. And let's get ready for them when they come.


But we don't have to go look for them. And so your mother, your mother, gives you challenges. These are gifts from her to deepen your practice. They're opportunities. And when I don't feel the enthusiasm, like I hear what you're saying, and I'm receiving that gift. Thank you. And part of me is, I said, I'm witnessing, like, I'm not up for it. Yeah. I'm not up for it. Part of enthusiasm is saying, I'm not up for it. That's part of enthusiasm. I'm not up for it. I need to take a break so I can go and work on my intention so that I feel enthusiastic.


I'll see you later. I'm going to take a little break now, mom. And I'll be back when I'm enthusiastic again about being your loving daughter. Right now, I need a break. I'm not up for it. That can be another gift that you give. And you go off and you work on your enthusiasm. And then you come back and say, hey, mom, I'm ready again. Let's do it. Come on. Bring it on. I'm here for you. But a few minutes ago, I wasn't up for it. And I told you, and I took a break, and now I'm rested. And I'm enthusiastic again about being your loving daughter, your patient, generous, careful, tender, enthusiastic daughter. I'm here to serve you, mommy. But for a while ago, I wasn't up for it. And I took a break. Taking a break is part of refreshing our enthusiasm. Thank you for your gift of enthusiasm.


Yeah. We have to reconsider, refresh, recreate, renew our enthusiasm. And sometimes we do that when we're resting from some hard job. And some jobs we may think, I should just keep doing this and doing this. We can overwork. You can overwork your kindness to your mother and your son and your husband and me. You can overwork it. So you should take a break and then go refuel and recreate your enthusiasm and come back and help us. Enthusiasm means full of it, full of the divine. So you got to go refuel your divine energy. for doing this wonderful work that you want to do, which everyone wants you to do. It's a deal. Thank you. Karen.


Hello, Rob. Hello. Hi. Um, well, this kind of relates to what Angela was just talking about. But also, when you during that lecture, you said some words that at the time, they kind of struck me as really interesting. And I thought, Oh, I think I know what that means. And then I tried to imagine it, and it got really nebulous. So the words that I remember, are you saying things like the effort of awakening, the effort is awakening. So sometimes we say the unceasing effort to free all beings, and I'm suggesting the unceasing effort of freeing all beings. Rather than you do something to free people, you're in the effort of freeing. Rather than over here's you and over there's the freedom,


or over here's the effort and here's the freedom. Effort being the freeing. So the effort is the freeing. The freeing is the effort. And then later there's going to be freeing. I would like to bring the effort, make the effort in the freeing. There's effort there. It's alive. It's enthusiastic. Rather than effort to free. It gets a little nebulous for me. And then I was thinking, as Angela was speaking, there's the effort to be kind, and there's the effort that is kindness. Would that be another way to? Yeah, yeah. And also open to the you can say nebulous, another word would be ambiguous. Yeah. It's kind of ambiguous, because the the effort is not really separate from


from the awakening or from the liberating. You know, you can't get a hold of one side of the process, really. I thought that came up for me as, that sounds too good to be true. Or, I don't know. Yeah, that's, that's good. Sounds too good to be true. So it sounds really good. And I Probably, you know, I can't get over it. So, yeah. Yeah. Okay. Catherine. Catherine. I heard the word unceasing and effort and feel exhausted.


And then when you were speaking to Angela, you were talking about taking a break. And I'd really like to hear more about rest and how you do it, because my rest seems to mean shutting down to me. There's a lack of openness in it. I don't really get, I mean, I do a lot of lounging around. I'm quite good at doing nothing. it doesn't feel like an open, helpful resting. And I can't seem to balance doing that. So, I'm suggesting that when you're resting, you rest for us. You're not just resting for yourself, you're resting for us. You're resting so that for the sake of being able to fully re-engage with us. You know, we have the expression, go on meditation retreat. So we go on retreat so that after the retreat we can more fully engage.


We don't go on retreat just for ourselves. We go on retreat for others. And if others are wise, wise others want us to rest so that we can recuperate, regenerate, recreate, refresh. What? Energy to do what we wanna do in this life. So all the lounging around you do, please do for us. Please do so that you use that time to reconsider how wonderful it is to do certain kind of life. You can think about that while you're resting. Or if you can't, just rest until you wanna think about it.


And don't go back to work until you really wanna go back for work. Like some people tell me, Over the years, people sometimes say, I'm still practicing meditation, but there's no enthusiasm. I'm just sort of going through the motions. And sometimes I say, well, why don't you stop? Stop practicing meditation and rest. Rather than just do it half-heartedly, take a break from doing it half-heartedly and just work on rediscovering your joy in the practice. And don't start again until you feel it. Just like we just did a long study on the Lotus Sutra. And I told people that I don't read the Lotus Sutra unless I feel enthusiasm to read it. And I would say the Lotus Sutra doesn't want me to read it unless I'm enthusiastic about it.


I don't want people to come and practice and meet me if they're not enthusiastic about it, although they can. If they come to meet me and they're not enthusiastic about it, I want to help them find enthusiasm about meeting me, but that might mean taking a break from meeting with me. So rest is part of being, it's a normal part of the process of wholehearted effort is rest, taking a break from doing some good activity. We can overdo a good thing. We can do too much of a good thing just by momentum. And that doesn't help anybody except in a sense of, having a good example of how not to practice. Good morning.


Greetings. This talk of kindness and mothers has got me stirred up, so I want to Don't tell don't remind me. Anyway. Yeah, so a little response to what Angela and you were discussing and then a question. So, more attention on what we what kindness might be, you know what it might look like because sometimes when you're talking I I don't think you'd really do that, but I get the impression that it might translate for some people to the difference between acting nice and acting mean by some kind of social standards, that that's what kindness is. You act nice. I don't think you mean that, but sometimes, but you did encourage Angela to, you know,


take a break and come back and be a loving daughter. You know, I thought it was a little quick. Sometimes a person like a mother is actually trying to kill you in some sense, maybe not a literal sense. So kindness might not look nice to the outside. It might look like it's not okay for you to be in the same room with me. something like that. So that's that response. And the question, you know, that story where it says mode go, yeah, and had a dream where his mother was suffering in hell and really gruesome description. And this disturbed him a lot. She had done some bad things. So that explains maybe why she was in hell. He's asked his teacher or somebody wise, how can I help her? And he was given some instruction to do some ritual or something and try to take care of his mother that way.


And he did. And then after some time, he had another dream where she was relieved of that suffering. So my mother died over 40 years ago, and there was, it took me quite a long time to really see that she, if there's such a thing as a hell world, she would be there, she would be suffering. If I try to help her suffering, maybe in a ritual way, what is the meaning of that? Am I really just trying to help myself and relieve myself of violence and open my heart to love for even the memory of her? Or is there some meaning to that actually helping her? That's my question. So before you ask that question, you also kind of more made a statement, which I agree with, which is that being kind doesn't necessarily look nice. In Angela's case, she's in a situation with her mother.


And I said, well, you could like say, hey, mom, hey, guess what? I need a break. That might not look nice. Her mother might not think that's nice, but she's not trying to be nice. She's trying to be kind. And it's a kindness to tell people when you need a break. That's a kindness. If you're driving a car and you're getting tired, it's a kindness to say, I got to pull over now. I'm going to pull over. But that might not look nice. But it's kind. And everybody wants you to pull over rather than fall asleep at the wheel. But it might look just like you're really tired and want to just take a break So I agree that kindness doesn't necessarily look nice. I agree, but it still might really be a kindness that everyone agrees would be good. Now this thing about, what comes to my mind is something that's very difficult to believe, which is if somebody else is suffering, you working on yourself in relationship to them helps them.


And you working on yourself in relationship to them is like a ritual. Because you're not actually going over there and helping them. They're not even alive anymore. However, you working on the stuff you feel about them, which takes you being kind to what you're going through, they are included in that. And that's a kind of ritual in the sense that you can't see how working on yourself affects that other person. But that's part of what a ritual is, is that the way you take care of what you can see addresses what you can't see. So, for example, we sit in the Jendo, and we can see ourselves sitting there, And we work on our body that's sitting there, and we work on our mind, which we can hear talking.


And the way we work on that is in relationship to a practice which isn't just what we can see and hear. And, yeah, so that's how we... In that sense, our sitting is a ritual, which is in relationship to what is beyond our hearing and seeing. And that relationship is developed and deepened through the ritual. And so, you know, so Mahamud Galyana worked on himself for the sake of his mother. And she was included in him working on himself, which was a ritual. That's how I would see it. Thank you. You're welcome. Thank you for your questions and your views. Justin. Hi, Rob.


Good morning, Justin. I have two follow-ups on just different aspects of a couple of things that former that Sangha members brought up. One is I just wanted to explore that idea of rest more and how it applies in community practice. You know, if I had, if I have the good fortune to be in another practice period with you or to sit in a session, I would, I, would want to approach it far differently than I did when I was in my 20s. And I sat in Tongariro and sat in Sessions through fairly agonizing pain and frustration and lack of enthusiasm. A lot of, I just, I really forced myself and I felt like, you know,


I felt like one, like there was times where I just felt like I was doing myself absolutely no good by sitting on the cushion and knew that I felt like I was actually hurting my psyche by doing so. And I just wanted to like lay down or I just wanted to like get up and walk out of the Zendo and go to my room and lay down for the afternoon. But I felt it was, my thoughts to myself that it was inappropriate to the community. You know, we're all encouraging each other. And, and I couldn't, I didn't know how to find balance in that situation. And I didn't feel like there was an invitation to where like, you know, as a group, hey, this, this can be very difficult. Yes, please. I think we get the message. Okay. And so the thing about group practice is there are people in the share your difficulties with.


Right. Well, in those cases, it would be good to go and talk to, for example, somebody who is available to discuss that with. So you might go to the person and say, you know, I'm really having a hard time. Yeah. And explain your situation. And they might say, they might say, take a break. I support rest, they might do that. Yeah. And if you said, if you went to the person and say, I feel like I'm not doing it, I'm not helping the community sitting there half-heartedly, or even with, you know, and the person might say, oh, they might say, oh, but you are. And then, you know, you're really help, it's really helpful that you're sitting there half-heartedly. And suddenly you might feel in that conversation, your enthusiasm coming back and feeling like you are doing something good sitting there. Or they might say, yeah, I agree. in this case, maybe it isn't helpful for you to sit this way.


So why don't we take a break and come back and tell me, the teacher might say, come back and tell me when you feel your enthusiasm returning. And you might feel it returning right then. So that's, in community practice, if you feel like you're not making a good contribution, then go talk to a teacher about your concerns that you're maybe not making a good contribution and see what the conversation reveals. So again, as I often say, it's not so much that you have to figure out by yourself or that the teacher figures out by herself, but the conversation will reveal the appropriate path. And maybe in those days, maybe it would have been good if you had shared your questions And maybe you could have found a more balanced approach to the difficulties of practice. Well, I see that now, and I wish this is a conversation that I could have had with you at that time.


And, you know, I feel like I had no capacity to because I had so many ideas of what a Zen student was, and I wanted to be a perfect one, and I thought you were a perfect one. I didn't want to expose any of my vulnerabilities. And I was, you know, a very, you know, very ignorant kid, you know. Now you're bringing that up and people can hear you bring that up so that they know that it would have been good. It is good if we show our vulnerabilities. It's good if we show our vulnerability to our teacher. Yeah. I mean, and I feel like I've been so encouraged. Thank you. Thank you for showing people that. See, now you're helping people. So your past not showing your vulnerability is now helping other people show theirs. Thank you for saying that. And I recognize that, and that's where I want my practice to be. And yeah.


Anyway, yeah, I was gonna say I've watched over the last, and I have taken a break from sitting. I'll go through phases. And just, but I'm, and I thought like when I stopped sitting, I'd be so much less aware, but it's not the case, you know, and I do feel when I, sometimes I do take a break and I go back, I feel more buoyant and I feel more aware and more ready. And I watched the way that, you know, over the last few years, the way that you respond to people's vulnerabilities and, you know, I feel so appreciative and so encouraged and, you know, every time I see one of my preconceptions pop, it's a little enlightenment and an opportunity and encouragement to say, you know, I've, this has been here all along and I've had this veil of static hardness, you know, in my consciousness, my body. So I very much appreciate it. And if I may, I'd like to bring up the other topic. It was the berries question.


And I remember in the yoga room, Barbara Joan, I think, I'm sorry, I don't remember Barbara Joan's husband's name, I think it's John. Jeff, Jeff. He brought up a very similar topic and it was, there was actually a scenario and I was like, well, what if Nazis were coming to our house looking for someone? And I thought a lot about that. And I had the thought that there's, you know, with the precepts, there's a hierarchy to my mind. And if you have to choose a precept, the wisdom is making choices on that hierarchy. And if you can be open to it, like, I mean, in every major religion, thou shall not kill is the first precept. Well, if you're if you're making a decision in the moment, again, I don't know if it's conscious or not. I mean, I believe wisdom is making that decision. You may subjugate not lying for not killing or not contributing to killing.


And you will have your own karma from that, but that's for more practice with the precepts. And you may or may not be right in what you did, but you're turning the wheel exercising the precepts and contemplating the precepts. And one is, all of them are included in the other. So really, I feel like maybe there's a hierarchy there. And I wondered if you see that, if you agree with that. If I agree to a hierarchy of? If sometimes in the precepts, there's a hierarchy in the, of the precepts and when you need to make a decision, a skillful decision on how to employ the precepts in the moment. The hierarchy is compassion is the essence of it.


Okay. That's at the center. That's what's compassionate at this time. That's how we relate to these precepts. Thank you. You're welcome. Carol. Hello, Carol. Hello, Rob. The host muted me. I've unmuted myself again. Okay, I can hear you. Okay. Well, I, I have been, I have been to many of your talks now over the Zoom thing.


And I have the same response, which is just a sense of complete delight in meeting you. Well, in the feeling I have of meeting you, but of course not meeting you because I don't say anything. And anyway, I just have a sense of profound thanks that for some extraordinary reason, disappeared, for some extraordinary reason, I was able for all those years to meet you and very many friends here actually, both from UK and Ireland and Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, and the States.


But I just feel an overwhelming sense of happiness at seeing your face and profound gratitude and delight. And I just thank you. Thank you so much. You're so welcome. North 24 Writers. Sorry, I'm Leslie. Change the name. I would also like to thank you. I'm new to Noah Boad and it's a great gift. If asking a question, it's a bit, I think, attached to the question about how to be kind towards an unkind person.


And as a woman who now in my 50s is sort of grappling with history of being nice and trying in now a new practice to be consciously kind. I really struggle with the notion of always bringing kindness. It's not that I don't want to bring kindness, but it can sometimes look like culturally approved passivity or sort of always letting another just roll over yourself. And then I'm worried I'm grasping onto ego and even grasping onto identity as a woman. I hope this makes sense. Confused. How are you doing now?


Good. This is OK, right? It doesn't seem like you're trying to be nice, are you? No. So, the kindness that we're really trying to learn is authentically you. For me, it is a great kindness if you show me who you really are. And if you're not feeling nice for me, I would say it would be a great gift for me for you to tell me that you're not feeling nice. And see if I can support you honestly being who you are. And that's what I want to do. That's the greatest kindness you can give me, the greatest generosity is to give me who you really are.


And that's a learning process for you. And who you are as someone who has some ideas about culturally approved stuff, that's part of who you are. And you can tell me about that. Tell me about it. You don't have to enact a culturally approved stuff. You can just tell me, this is what I think it is. And I'm influenced by all that. It's part of who I am. But who I really want to be is an authentic person, an authentic version of me, moment by moment. And I want to know if you support that. May I ask one more? So for instance, in the face of somebody you really love, but for instance, this mother who is being unkind, you could also, besides taking a break, you could say, I love you so much.


And I'm so hurt because I feel you're being unkind and it's making me feel like I want to be unkind to you. But what I want to be is so loving to you. And I don't want this getting in the way of us loving each other. Is that a way to be kind, not nice? That sounds so kind to me, what you just said. You know, if you said that to me, I would feel like... That sounded authentic and really kind. And you also told me that I'm hurting you. And that's kind too, for me to know that you feel that way. That's so kind. It's not particularly nice. Like some people have the courage to come and tell me that they don't trust me. It's not really nice necessarily that they said that, but it's really kind of them and courageous of them.


So I felt courage in what you said. I felt patience in what you said. I felt generosity in what you said. I felt love in what you said. And I didn't particularly feel you were being nice, but I did feel like you were being kind of gentle. The delivery was, you know, not that strident. And that's another reason for don't, don't let, don't go too far. Don't get so tired. Don't get so exhausted and fatigued. And when you finally do tell somebody what you just said, you're all stressed out and they're, they pick up on all that stress. But the way you just told me now was really just perfect. Wow. I can hardly wait for tomorrow's Mother's Day. Call your mother and do that. She just died, but I'll call her wherever she is. Do it tomorrow. Tell her that tomorrow. Say, Mom, I have this great gift for you. And I'm giving it to you because I love you because you're my mom.


You're my one and all. You only got one mom, right? And so you love her. So give her that gift. and then do it the same with everybody else that's still alive. Please. Thank you. Thank you. Basia. Hi, Rev. Hello, Basia. Hello, Assembly. Nice to see you all. If you see the view behind my, in my backdrop, this is the view from my new home. It's expansive. It's huge. And my husband fell in love with this. Now we live in this house. As soon as I see, besides the beautiful view, there's also extreme conditions like today's kind of windy day.


But here it's really, really windy. So it's kind of drafty in the house. All the weak spots of the house are coming out. And I'm just introducing into my question because in a way, this situation here that I'm living in is representing in a way the situation that I've encountered in practice. I realized that maybe I can come, you know, correct me, but it seems that the aim of Zen is just to learn to live and be fully alive and be who we are. And there's nothing really much to do besides that. And as I realized that, like, okay, what do I do now? I'm not trying to get anything. from them anymore.


So what do I do? I'm not too motivated anymore to go and do these things. Before I was so driven, now the driven-ness is gone. Well, I could imagine Shizukuro-ji might have said what you said just now. He might have said that when he was in Japan. What's that? What should I do now? When he was like 55 years old, he might have said, how old are you? 60 almost, December. But when he was 55, I think he might have said something just like you said, what should I do now? Like he probably said, I'm not trying to get anything from Zen, what should I do now? So what did he do? He said, I want to give a gift. So I'm not telling you what to do, If you're wondering what to do, I would say, well, you could give a gift. You could give a gift to that landscape. You could give a gift to all sentient beings.


You could give the gift of your life. Now that you're not trying to get anything, please, give. Give gifts to us. What kind of gifts can I give? That was one right there. Did you see it? Question? Did you see that that was a gift? Yes, I guess. That's an example. That's an expression. So just expressing ourselves is a gift? You can make every expression a gift. All day long. Every expression. You can make a gift to your husband, to everybody you meet, just practice giving. That's what you can do now for the rest of your life. So that I understand. I'm just wondering, you know, my old habit of showing up at the Zen centers and whatever.


I'm like, does it matter? Maybe I just can live a plain life and not show up at Zen centers anymore. Who cares? You'll never have to go to a Zen center again. But if you're giving all day long, And if you're not, then you have to go to Zen Center and have people remind you to practice giving. If you're practicing giving, you don't have to go to Zen Centers. Zen Centers are to teach you to practice giving. Maybe you already learned the lesson. So please take that and practice it everywhere. And that may not take you to any Zen Centers. But you don't need it anymore if that's what you're practicing. But you know, Zen Center might grow up around you if you're not careful. And again, if you practice giving a Zen center my girl up around you. Well, it's gonna be windy. And I read Hello.


Is your name Jim? Yeah. Does that mean forest of compassion? It does. My teacher gave it to me. Maybe you know him. Yeah, maybe I do. Well, if you really know him, that means you're awake. Okay, thank you. I really loved that you exhorted us to practice Buddha with together with Buddha, which is why I put my hand up because I wanted to practice Buddha with Buddha. Thank you. Yeah. And you said something today. about the part of us that we can see and bear witness to and then the part that's beyond perception or is not, it's in a blind spot or it's in a dark spot or we don't see it and then it pivots.


And I just, I have a part of me that is voiceless and a part of me that is voice and sometimes even harsh voice, but voice. And I see in the world, there are lots of voiceless and lots of voice. And I'm just wondering, what is the relationship between my inner wholeness and like the world around me? How does it work? Well, did you ever read any Sherlock Holmes? Yeah. Well, you just did a kind of Dr. Watson thing there. I did? Yeah. You did this brilliant thing of pointing out that you could use your voice to invite the voiceless to speak.


So use your sweetest, not sweetest, but use your sweet loving voice to invite the voiceless to speak in yourself, but also invite other people who maybe have a voiceless part, invite them to speak from that place too. So that would be really a good practice to invite the voiceless, encourage the voiceless, Invite the voiceless to speak. And be kind if the voiceless doesn't say anything audible. Just the invitation would be good. It's a very whole feeling. That was a very good suggestion. Thank you. Thank you. Really wonderful to be with you, Reb.


Great to be with you. Really wonderful to be with everybody else. Really wonderful. Thank you. There's something I want to say, but something else popped up first, which is it's Mother's Day tomorrow. And kind of our conversation today is a little bit giving mothers a bad rap. And as a mother, I want to just voice that it's really hard to be a mother. And it's harder to be a good or great mother. And I think I can speak for your mother in apologizing for ways in which we fail. So. I don't know if I'm saying that to my kids or to you all, but I just felt like I really wanted to presence that it is not easy, even if you try as hard as you possibly can to be a wonderful mother.


And that's the gift I wanted to make. Thank you. And I've heard from my whole life from women or mothers who say, nothing's harder. And, you know, it's the hardest thing. And that's the great strength of mothers, is I hear that from mothers more than from fathers. I don't hear fathers say so much. Being a father is the hardest thing. And I'm sorry that not more men know that, that being a father is really hard. the good thing about mothers is they often know it's really hard because basically it's like being a buddha it's hard and failing and failing and trying and failing and that's the great thing that's the great thing about so many mothers are aware of their shortcomings but that's the that's at the heart that's the


That's the true color of practice. That's the true body and mind of faith, is to know that we fail at this boundless opportunity and boundless responsibility. Thank you. You're welcome. And now here's what I thought I wanted to talk about and still do. You mentioned earlier today you said, you can't see how working on yourself helps the other person. Very hard to see it. Very hard to see. Well, I have a report to make. So I think in our meeting of this sangha in February, maybe after the January intensive, I shared about a little experience I had during the intensive with the Lotus Sutra, and with reading about the Buddha, and the Buddha forgiving his cousin, and how during the intensive, I found my way to forgive somebody whom I had forgotten that I hadn't forgiven 32 years earlier, a husband who left me who ran off with another woman and left me with two little kids.


And so In the intensive, it happened. Yeah, so it was kind of a miracle, right? And that was in January. And last week, I received a card from the woman whom I have not heard of in 32 years. have not been in any kind of communication of any kind for 32 years. And she, out of the clear blue sky, sent me an apology, which she certainly had never apologized at the time. And she says, here comes this card saying, I am so sorry for the hurt. I apologize for the betrayal and for the pain. And I've thought of you over these years. And I just have not known what to do with that. And then you say this thing.


Could it really be connected to the fact that I forgave? It's just blowing my mind, Rip. Anyway, I wanted to complete. Maybe it's not even completing the story. I wanted to give the update. The person with the iPad. I'm really moved about the sharings here today. Wow. I wanted to ask, I keep having this, I keep, maybe I'm repeating myself now, but I keep having the same, like my mind is stuck on problems around reading the Lotus Sutra.


And I just wanted to ask you, when reading and studying the Lotus Sutra, all evil thoughts about the Lotus Sutra are welcome, right? It doesn't feel like I... All evil thoughts will become Buddha. All evil thoughts are on the Buddha path. And they look like they're not on the Buddha path, but that's the way that they're on the Buddha path, exactly that way. It's like invite the voiceless to speak.


Thank you, Rembo. You're welcome. Do you celebrate Mother's Day tomorrow in Sweden? I have to confess, I don't know if it's... I haven't heard it. In the US we have tomorrow's Mother's Day. Is it Mother's Day in England tomorrow? No. So it's an American holiday tomorrow, Mother's Day. So happy Mother's Day tomorrow, Charlotte. Thank you, Ralph. Catherine. Hi, Rev. And hello to the Great Assembly. Hello, Catherine. Thank you so much for all the love and generosity today and the amazing sharing.


I want to offer a gift. I was thinking this week of all those who are suffering in our world, and especially what's happening in India and Nepal. And, and these words came to me, and I want to just read them if I may, as a gift to you and the Great Assembly. It's simply called practice. When cold, practice with all beings who are cold. When hot, practice with all beings who are hot. When abandoned and lonely, practice with all beings who are abandoned and lonely. When in love, practice with all beings who are in love. When in doubt, practice with all beings who are in doubt. When hungry, practice with all beings who are hungry. When in fear of lack of funds, practice with all beings who fear the lack of funds.


Every turn, every pivot, although I feel the devastation of aloneness, I am never alone when the planet cries for breath, for clean air, for systemic solutions. Practice with all beings. Thank you. Thank you. Wendy. Hello. Hello, dear Reb, and hello to the great, great, great Assembly. I feel like I've been given a voice. Thank you to G. Wren and all the others before me who've inspired, inspired me to raise my hand and to come to the table.


for such a long time you have encouraged and reminded us about a Buddha and a Buddha meeting and the sort of magic that occurs and the clarity and the realization and the awareness and the radiance I think that occurs and is even occurring across and over this medium this just this what happens when um and it's it's just really really palpable today um and uh i feel i know people so from january on just so well through this medium like i wouldn't do and in so many other it's such an opportunity such a gift um um You were speaking to people about difficult offering kindness to someone who was someone you loved.


I have a very challenging position where I have my manager at work who I'm having a really, really long standing, ongoing difficult time with and it's actually inspired me. She's given me a great opportunity for practice because I have really, really sort of ramped up my practice in order to kind of be with this person that I can't say to that I'm sorry, I need to take a break. I need to take a rest. For me at this moment, taking a rest would mean quitting my job. I just wonder if you have some words that would assist in this kind of At my age, I feel I've never come across someone that I dislike so much.


And I confess that I'm offering loving kindness to her as a fellow human being, but I'm just, it's a really, really difficult situation and I would appreciate anything you could offer. Can you rest now, right at the moment? Yes. So it may be that you can't rest in, is it, is the pronoun she? She, yes. Can you, rest in her presence? No. Can you rest when she's not around? Sometimes? Yes. Yeah, so you may have to rest when she's not around.


And in your resting, which is not around, rediscover your courage and enthusiasm for this relationship, which is in your life. And But so you can't rest in her presence, so you have to rest some other time. But rest for the sake of this relationship. You realize you need a lot of heroic energy to meet this person fully. And so you need to find a time when she's not around or it's with some people, Even with people you can say that to, you still may have to go away from them. So this is like internal recuperation and recreation time. You need to do that.


But she may not be able to know about this until you two are standing on the terrace of awakening together. Meantime, inwardly, But for the sake of the relationship, it's part of your work to do this resting work. I'm talking to you about this, and you could talk to me about this, and in the conversation, you might feel some energy coming back to do this hard job. Yes, I do. I really do. later today maybe, set aside some time just to take a walk and think about this. Take a walk to rest and recuperate your energy for this great challenge.


And for all of us, that was a really, thank you for that reminder to rest for everyone. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. So Greg will be the last commenter today. Hi, Reb. Can you hear me? I can. I wanted to thank Tracy for her observation and also confess that it was very hard for me to be a father. It happened when I was very young. And I think probably the hardest part about it was I didn't realize how hard it was to be a father until lately. And this is 52, 51 years on. So I wish I'd been more, wish I'd been more aware in general, but certainly more aware of how much work was necessary to be a good father at the time.


I just wanted to say that. And thank you very much. And thank you to the whole Assembly. Thank you. And thank you to the Great Assembly. And it's lovely to see you all. May our intention equally extend to every being and place.