No Abode Lay Disciples Gathering

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A virtual Dharma talk by Tenshin Roshi for an online gathering of lay-ordained disciples.

AI Summary: 



So can you see me okay? Can you hear me okay? I'm at a temple called Noa Bode Hermitage. This is the first time we have done a Zoom meeting at Noa Bode. I feel moved to carefully acknowledge that various news sources have projected, have declared that we have just elected the first woman vice president in US history.


And the first person of woman of color in US history. And we have also elected Joe Biden as president. And I know many people are feeling very relieved and I think many other people are not feeling relieved. I think about 70 million people voted for Donald Trump to continue as president. And I think each of us could possibly say a lot about the issue that 70 million people voted for him. About 75 million people


voted for Biden and Harris. We had before us in this world, a very important 70 million people to try to be friends with and work together with in the future. don't we? So it's a moment of relief and it's also a moment when we can have a meeting here today and talk about our practice of the Buddha way. I often have this echo in my head of Aretha Franklin singing.


When I look out upon the morning rain, I used to feel so uninspired. Looking out upon the morning sun here, I do not feel uninspired. I do not feel uninspired. I feel inspired to practice with you. And I also feel concerned because looking forward, it seems that this pandemic is going to continue probably for a while. So I will not be able to meet with you as a group for some time. So I'm concerned with how we can support each other to practice through the coming winter.


How we can continue our practice through the difficult times ahead. and how we can ask for help to continue our practice and offer help to support others to practice with us. So I, for the first time, invited a subgroup of the Sangha, those who have received the bodhisattva precepts, to have a meeting. to discuss how to take care of the responsibility for the practice of these precepts. So you are a group and you are individuals who have asked for the bodhisattva precepts of the


particular lineage of this temple, and of the San Francisco Zen Center, and other Zen centers. And you have asked for them, and you have been given them, and you have received them, and you have committed to observe them, to contemplate them, to remember them. So since you have made this commitment, I wanted to meet with you today to talk about how to enact your commitment to the precepts in the times to come. As I understand, all of you have gone through a formal ceremony of receiving the precepts. And this receiving of the precepts is also called attaining liberation.


By receiving the precepts in that ceremony, you all attained liberation. You are now free to take care of these precepts and to share them with others and transmit them to others through your daily life. So I had some ideas that came into my consciousness. One of them is perhaps we could have perhaps like a winter practice session. perhaps starting today, November 7th, and perhaps going to February 7th.


And during that time, maybe we could imagine ways of practice and make commitments to them for the next period of time. So I can imagine for myself that I will be living under the protocols of the Green Dragon Zen Temple, Green Gulch Farm for the next three months, which allow me to leave Green Gulch wearing a mask and social distancing outdoors or indoors with not nobody else.


So I can do that, so I can come to Noah Abode and also I could meet with people outdoors with masks, social distancing at Noah Abode. So I personally will try to find a way to meet with those of you who wish to and are able, but some of you I think would like to come here to meet but you live in other countries, so it's impractical. But some of you live not so far away, and you may want to come and meet face-to-face with masks at no abode. And we'll try to work out how to do that. Also, I will be practicing at Green Dragon Zen Temple. Every morning, well, actually six days a week, we get up at 4.30.


I will go to the Zendo at 4.30 or 4.45, and I will sit in the Green Gulch Zendo as long as I can. It's getting colder. We have the doors and windows open, and we're social distancing with masks in the Zendo. And I commit, I joyfully commit to continue that practice for the next three months. And also I will, you can see on my teaching schedule, I will offer a Zoom talk next weekend through the Zen Center website. And following weekend, I will offer another Zoom talk. I'll come back here and try it again here. And then there'll be two more talks during December.


And then there'll be a January intensive. And during that time, each week, I will give five meetings. I will give five Dharma talks and discussions in relationship to the Lotus Sutra of the true Dharma. So that's my basic commitment that I'm gonna be trying to exercise for the next three months. And I would like all of you to think about how do you wish to express your commitment to the Bodhisattva way for the next three months? And is there some ways other than sitting by yourself at home that you'd like to engage in?


As I understand right now, I think there has been or still are in this group here, two study groups. One led by, organized and led by Pam Walton. Is that right, Pam? So you just nod your head, is that right? It's still happening, okay. And another one, with Karen Mueller, Yuki, is that right? So those are two reading groups that are happening, which you are already involved in. But I'm asking you to think about, is there... I can't hear you now. You're muted.


You're muted. No, you're muted. Rob, I think when everyone else was allowed to unmute, you went on to mute. So you may have to go to the bottom of your screen and click the unmute button. Lower left-hand corner. There's a microphone icon with a line through it. Does that work? Yep. Yes. So I invite you to imagine or to look in your heart and see if you would like to get together with this group of people and or invite other people to join you during the next three months to practice in some study groups or some other ways, some discussion groups that would be helpful to form and participate in during the next month, two months or three months.


And so that's my question to you and I don't know exactly how to proceed. But that's what I thought we could do today, is for you to start to think about ways that you could form, if you excuse the expression, support groups to study the Bodhisattva precepts or study the Lotus Sutra. You could form groups to start studying the Lotus Sutra right now, and be studying it through the fall, the rest of the fall, and continue into the January Intensive in your study groups, and or join the January Intensive. But you could study the Lotus Sutra in groups, in small groups, whether you participate in the Intensive or not. And if there's other study things you'd like to do, you could do that.


And I also wonder if the current study groups, if they welcome other people to join. Do you welcome people to join, Pam? Yes. And do you, let's see, Karen, do you welcome people to join? Yeah, Shopichi and I co-facilitate that group, and it's Eastern time zone, so there's a time zone issue, but certainly people are welcome to join. So there could be a, there also could be a England time zone, or Germany, Sweden, Italy time zone. And so if you'd like to do that, before I go further, is there anybody in this group right here who does not want their email address shared with this group?


Please let us know if you do not want your email shared. And I'm inviting or wondering if there's anybody in this group who would like to facilitate-organize a study group. In addition to, we have two now, would like to start a new study group and invite people to join you. And again, it could be by, it could be West Coast, ones, Midwest ones, East Coast ones, and then two European or one or two European time zone study groups. I would like to be in one, but not start it. Reb, I wonder if Eileen could open the chat so that we could respond there, both with... If Eileen could do what?


If Eileen could open the chats so that we could write down if we can do that or how we want to participate or other answers to your question, which is how will we use this three months ideas. Anyway, so without having to call on everyone, if we could chat it, that might be efficient. So it might be efficient. All right, let's try it. It might be possible to start a mailing list in which we could kind of discuss with each other and work out these groups. read?


Yes. I just can I say something about the group that we have now? And then? Yes. Okay. So the group that I and Karen and Yuki is also facilitating this group with me to meets on the second and fourth Thursday of every month. And we're reading entering Buddha's mind, or entering the mind of Buddha, the book on the power meets And we're almost done with that, and we'll probably want to finish that. But I would be willing to start another group on the alternate Thursdays. Yuki already has another group on the alternate Thursdays at East Coast time. But I would be happy to start another one to start the Lotus Sutra. Also happy to step aside and let somebody else do that as well, if other people want to start. Thank you. And Pam, your Pacific time?


Yeah, we meet at 7 p.m. on Zoom. It's from 7 to 8.30. And if I started another group to start the Lotus Sutra, it would be also 7 to 8.30, but it would probably be on the alternate Thursdays, 1st and 3rd. And that's when Yuki has her East Coast group too. And they're also reading the Paramitas. So it'd be the same time as that. Oh, actually different time, same day. Yuki can talk about that one. What time is that group? The East Coast group is at 7.30, East Coast time, 7.30 till 9. Thank you. We do have several people in other time zones also in that group. So, you know, if it fits your schedule, you're welcome. on the East Coast right now, so. How would we connect with you?


I guess we're going to be receiving each other's emails. This is Sarah Norris, and I'm on the East Coast, and we're interested in joining the East Coast. We're now, in both groups, reading the chapter on patience, which is absolutely appropriate to the situation in which we find ourselves right now. So we'd also need to talk a little bit about, you know, how to sort of catch up with the group and come in. But yeah. We also have to come up with which version of the Lotus Sutra we're going to share to read. That's another issue. So everyone, I tried to enable the chat setting, but I think because the meeting is live, so far it hasn't popped up. So it may not work for this meeting. And Rob, when you or Sonia, whoever is gonna send an email out with people's emails addresses on it, can you also recommend the version of the Lotus Sutra that you might recommend us to read?


I do not recommend a version. Okay, yes, that way, if you if you have a Lotus Sutra study group, you have a meeting, and you talk about whether you all want to agree on one translation. I'm okay, if you want to, if you in your study groups, if you all want to study one translation, that's, of course, fine with me. But I'm not suggesting one translation. I'm not going to be using one translation. I don't use one translation in my talks. I don't go through, I don't read the Lotus Sutra line by line. I speak it from memory, which is like a rendition of various translations. But if a study group wants to choose one translation, that may be what you want to do. But that would be up to the study group. So I'm not suggesting one translation.


I'm noticing a big difference in translations. And I have not run into a bad one yet. All the ones I've looked at are wonderful. It's called the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Sutra. It's wonderful. And they're all different. And I look at all of them. And when they're different, it often is in a place that's very interesting. Want to hear an example? Yes. So the last two talks that I've given online, one for this Sangha, and then one for the Zen Center Sangha, the last two talks, I focused on chapter seven of the Lotus Sutra. And in that chapter is a story about a Buddha whose name is Excellent Great Penetrating Wisdom Tathagata.


And in that chapter, Shakyamuni Buddha tells the story of this other Buddha. And if you want to hear the talks about that that chapter and about that Buddha, I think you can get, at least the Zen Center one is still online to listen to. So it's a story about that Buddha, and that Buddha is the Buddha that's referred to in the Precious Mirror Samadhi poem by Dung Shon, in the lines which says, if you want to accord with the ancient way, please observe the ancients. And then it says, one of the ancients, when about to fulfill Buddhahood, sat and faced a tree for 10 eons, like a tiger leaving part of its prey, like a horse with a white hind leg.


Anyway, that Buddha I talk about in those two talks, and what I'm, One of the places where I actually had a hard time understanding was in some of the translations it said that when this Buddha finally decided to teach, after this Buddha finally attained Buddhahood and gave the teaching, many people had great awakening listening to the teaching. And then it said they were able to do that and end all outflows. because in one translation it said they did not accept any teachings. Another translation said because they did not accept any dharmas. And I thought that's a rather strange thing to say. And I looked at some other translations and they said because they did not attach to anything. So that's an example of where I looked at three or four translations and the different translations helped me understand.


One translation would be, you don't accept anything. Another translation is, you don't accept and hold on to anything. So, again, oftentimes in places of great intensity in the teaching, when it gets translated, it goes in several different directions because of the intensity. And this is one example where it's nice to have different translations to kind of triangulate on what might be said. So I encourage you to look at different translations, especially when you run into places that seem strange or difficult to understand. Another thing which I would suggest for all of us to do, starting whenever you want to, is the great project of hand copying the Lotus Sutra. So our founding teacher in Japan, Ehei Dogen, suggested that one of the things to do in your life, along with sitting upright and contemplating the truth of the great teaching, is to handwrite.


They didn't have typewriters. back in the 13th century, to handwrite the Lotus Sutra in this lifetime. So during this winter, I will do that practice. I will copy the Lotus Sutra. And I invite you to join me. It's not required. It's just part of a life of being a disciple in the lineage that you're in. And you don't have to finish this winter, but you might think about starting. During this winter, during this difficult winter, we're gonna have a hard time, I think. We're already having a hard time. And I already can't get near my grandchildren. It's hard.


I can't get near my daughters. I can't get near you. I can't touch you. I can't shake your hand. But I can bow to you with a mask on from six feet away, which, you know, I'm happy I can do that. But it's hard. It's hard for me not to be able to practice in person with people. And so it's going to be hard for me this winter And I'm pretty sure that for me to copy the Lotus Sutra will help me deal with my sadness and my pain about the suffering of this world. That it will encourage me and uplift me to do the work of practicing these precepts, which we are mutually committed to. So I recommend that you consider that practice. And I recommend that you think about studying the Lotus Sutra and listening to my talks and or join study groups of the Lotus Sutra.


So I'm kind of suggesting that as a as a possibility for this Sangha to do and I'm talking to you who are the senior part of the Sangha as kind of the leaders perhaps in doing the Lotus Sutra practice, the Lotus Sutra concentration, concentrating on the Lotus Sutra and sharing it with all beings. So anyway, I've committed to this study for the next three months. I've committed to sharing it with you, and I invite you to join that. and also see if you want to form groups, in addition to the two we have here, if any of you would like to form groups, you could let us know.


And one way to let us know would be if perhaps somebody would like to be secretary for these study groups. In other words, somebody would care to offer to organize them to receive expressions of willingness to organize groups and let people know that someone's willing to organize it and then let people contact that person and arrange times to meet and discuss the teachings of the Bodhisattva vehicle. The Lotus Sutra is one of the great teachings of the Bodhisattva way. So that's a little bit from me. And I see Karen Yuki has her hand raised. Yes? I was just going to volunteer to be that organizing person, if that would be helpful.


OK. Thank you very much. And if it gets to be too much for you, maybe you can ask for assistance. I will. You have access now. Eileen will give you the email addresses of everybody at this meeting. You can contact Karen Yuki Mueller, and she will receive either your interest in being in a group and the time zone you'd like to meet in and perhaps your willingness to lead a group or to organize a group. And then, yeah, and I will be informed about this. And, you know, I may even be able to join some of these groups. Any other ideas of how we might support each other to get through this difficult time, this difficult global time, this difficult time of environmental crises, this difficult time of political crises,


this difficult time of health crises, how we can help each other to study the Dharma, to practice the Dharma, and to share it with beings during this time. Any other ideas are welcome now. And again, you could send ideas you have later to Karen. There's some hands raised. Linda has. Would you call on people? So Linda. Thank you. Um, so I have, I have, this is still on the topic of the discussion groups for the Lotus Sutra. Um, I have experience teaching, you know, texts and translation from Asian languages and, um, some translations are really better than others. And so I was going to offer if, if it would be helpful to go through and, um, make a little summary of the different say, the five or 10 most likely translations and give a little summary of what I can tell you about them.


And maybe make a suggestion as to how we could study it without too much confusion, you know, like everybody coming from a different translation, there are ways to do it where we can get input from various translations, but we don't have a kind of cacophony of people talking about different things at the same time. So anyway, I will do that. I will provide and I'll ask some of my scholar friends to a kind of summary of different translations and which ones are regarded as reliable and what are the qualities of various ones and I'll provide them to whoever's collecting them. Thank you so much. So you maybe send that to Karen and she'll send it to everybody. Okay. How's that? And that could be a resource for anybody who wants to study and or be in a group. Does that make sense, everybody? Thank you, Linda, very much. Okay, Devin. Devin. Thank you, Rev. Thank you, Jim. So I just wanted to let you know that some of us who are here today have been meeting with a group that Ingembrine has been leading in the Republic of Ireland as a winter practice period, sitting together and studying together.


It may be that most people in our time zone are aware of this, but in case they're not, I think Ingen's very open to people joining in a very flexible way that fits their life circumstances. Okay, great. Please, if you'd like to know more, you're welcome to contact me. So if you want to know more about that, Devin's on this list. Devin Ashwood. So Tracy. Yes, thank you. I'm very intrigued by your invitation, Rav, for us to consider what would this three-month period, what could it look like for each of us? And I love the suggestions you've given. I'm also really interested in other members' ideas for that. I want to get inspired by other people's ideas. And I don't know, I was thinking maybe since we can't do it in the chat, maybe we could create a Google document and have us all have access to that document.


And then as we try things, or as we have ideas, it could just be a resource trove. So that's my suggestion. And I'd be happy to work with Eileen or whoever to help set that up if that seems worth doing. Okay, so why don't you say a little bit more about that. And, and again, you could work with Karen and or Eileen. Eileen, do you have any comment on that? Do you want her to work with you and Karen or just with Karen? It could be a Google drive maybe and the other question that will come up is whether it's going to open up to the wider sangha. I would like it to open to the, I would, I would want it to be open to the wider sangha. Okay, so yeah, I can I'm not saying that all you people need to have your email open to the wider Sangha. But they would be allowed in. Yes.


So if we created a Google Drive or whatever, it would be open to the entire Sangha. But it also avoids us sending 89 emails to one another. Yes. We have to go to rather than accidentally hitting reply all and all of a sudden we're all filling our emails more than we might wish. Very good. Thank you so much. John. Thank you. One thing that I really enjoy about January practice period is the interactions with Sangha members. And I was thinking there is a version of Zoom available that I participated in. in groups where there are breakout sessions. So the teacher can give a talk and then pose a question, and then you're automatically put into small breakout groups with a facilitator. You know, if somebody's chosen to facilitate that little group to discuss the question for, I don't know, five, 10 minutes and go back to the teacher.


And I find it a very engaging sort of platform. So I just want to suggest maybe that's something, maybe an option you and Eileen and others could look into for January practice period. Okay, thank you, John. I'm interested in a study group in Europe, and I can organize it, but I also welcome others who want to step forward or jointly work with that. And it would be interesting to see if there is anybody else who's interested in a study group in Europe. Grace is having her hand up. Less a lot, and certainly I'd be interested from Ireland.


Good to see you. So on the mailing list, there is a pretty big European Sangha. So one of the things we might be able to do in the future is make an announcement. So everybody will see the European Sangha. Betsy? Oh, thank you. Well, we were talking, Rev, you asked about supportive things and I just wanted to mention that every morning I do a service and I chant the precepts and I found it very supportive to do that every day. And the other thing is thinking about groups, I realized with Zoom groups, I am much more comfortable with a small group. And I'm just putting it out there, wondering if it would be okay if I started a group or someone started a group that specified it was going to be small.


Would that be okay? Because I just... That works much better for me. I think that's perfectly wonderful, to have a small group. If you want to organize it, would you be up for organizing it? Yeah. So maybe you could tell Karen that you'd like to organize a small group and then you could specify the size. You could organize it that way. You have my full support to do that. Thank you. You're welcome. Grace? Rev, I know I made this suggestion to Green Gulch as a whole, but for me, sitting together and sitting in sangha is really important. So if that can happen, that we can sit from afar via Zoom in Green Gulch during intensive, that would be great.


We can't do that. I'm happy to I think all of us who have Zoom platforms that can accommodate 100 people or less, we should all submit our email addresses to Sonia. I'd be willing to do sitting a couple of days a week in a very controlled setting. I think Green Gulch, Zen Center Green Gulch has received your suggestion. and is supportive of it, of having some online access to the sitting that's going on at Green Gulch. Is that what you're talking about? Right. During the intensive? Right. Yeah. So I think that's being worked on and this group could be informed of it. I don't know how that's going to work, but I think I saw your request


and I saw other people's positive reception of it, and now it's a question of how to facilitate that. I will follow up with Panto. Yeah, so that's being worked on. But again, also the second part of that is I think those of us who can accommodate Zoom in great numbers, because we have that capability. I've got that platform. We should let you know or let Sonya know or let Eileen know if ever it's needed here. There's a limit, a time limit to most Zoom platforms if you don't have the extended one. Number one, I'm happy to make my Zoom account available Number two, I'm also happy to think about doing a small sitting group via Zoom from the Sanctuary at the Redwoods before the January 10th.


Well, again, give that information to Nuki, and then she, if anybody's interested to join this sitting group that Grace is going to offer, they could do that, right? Shokuji? I have a couple of things. One is, I'm wondering if there's any way, if it's not too much trouble, for the email list to be organized by region. So, you know, particularly to know who's in Europe, maybe who's East Coast, who's West Coast, who's Midwest, it would be helpful maybe for organizational purposes. and also for organizing sittings together. And the other thing is, I'm just wondering if anybody in this group has Sanskrit. I just ordered a copy of the Lotus Sutra in Sanskrit, and I decided to make my devotional study to reading and translating slowly, and also chanting, because it's in verse, and also writing from the Sanskrit


version. So if anybody's interested in exploring that, I would be really interested in doing it with others. Thanks. Samir? Yes. Hi, everybody. Hi, Red. I'm looking forward to start the study of Lotus Sutra with you and other members of the Sangha. I started to write down the Lotus Sutra a few years ago, but I haven't finished yet. So maybe this will be a beautiful opportunity. Practicing with the Sangha in Europe, I don't have any skills as an organizer, but I really would like to help. But I don't have any technical skills or even just simple organizer skills.


But I really would like to do something. I'm practicing every day. I do this many years and I will continue, but if I can share this with others, I'm really open. Thank you. I thought I heard Liselotte say that she would be willing to do some organizing efforts for the European people here. Yes, I really would like to participate and help Liz a lot in this organization. Thank you. Anne? I want to thank you, Reb, for this offering. It really means a lot to me. I have two other sanghas that I'm active with, and it's very important to me


to keep San Francisco in the mix and figuring out a way to do that without overzooming myself. And the Lotus Sutra for me is the draw right now, because you're the only sangha doing that. And it's a very meaningful thing. I just finished one version, reading it out loud. And I would like to... Congratulations. Thank you. And I would like to throw out the suggestion that we all read it out loud together at some point, like a festival of hearing it. I mean, I'd do it alone, but it would be fun. And I don't know if this is what a small group would do, like pick their way through a chapter and then read the chapter, but maybe all these little satellite groups of Lotus Sutras could come together at some point and we could hear it and close our eyes and listen while people read it.


Thank you. If other people would like to form a Lotus Sutra recitation group, Karen Mueller, no, right? Yeah. So that's one person who wants to do that online, right? Yeah. We can't do it in person right now. But maybe there's a technology which will allow chanting together or reading together. Or maybe one person reads and the other people listen. But if other people are interested in a group that reads the Lotus Sutra, either together or one by one, taking turns, please let Karen know. And also, if someone would be willing,


would be willing to organize such a group, let Karen know. Okay, Karen? Karen? Yes, I wanted to suggest that maybe as a place to start, if people could let me know what they are interested in organizing or offering and the time zone, that that would be a good place to start and then once we knew what was available, then that information could go out more broadly. I'm a little concerned about getting email from, you know, several hundred people saying I'm interested in such and such a group if it would happen. So I'm just thinking maybe to start with the people who are interested in organizing, if you could let me know what that is. And the other thing I wanted to say in regard to what Anne just said, I have a dear friend that she and I talk on the phone once a week and we read the Lotus Sutra to each other and we take turns reading.


And that's a lovely practice and, you know, two people can do it really nicely on the telephone in addition to Zoom. That's a small group of two. Yes, it's lovely. Betsy, reading the Lotus Sutra to one other person and having that other person read to you. That's a lovely practice. reading it alone, reading it with one person, reading it with many. Breck? Yes, I just wanted to volunteer to try to organize the email list by regions, if that would be helpful. Thank you, Breck. So I don't know if that's just the mailing list of this group, or if that would be the broader sangha, Why don't you start with this group? Okay. And go from there. Okay.


Thank you very much. That'd be great. Me too. I would like to share the practice that I have with my friend, the small group recite a sutra. It could be more through the phone, it could be more than two people. We have three people right now. And you use the phone, but for the phone, they have shared, so multiple line, you can share. And then the way we do is one person recite and the other person listen, and then take turn. So we have three person now. So we recite the Medicine Buddha Sutra every day. And so every three day, One person got the result and it might be, can be more than three person, I think, because now the smartphone can, you can join that and can have more than, something like a conference call.


So it can be more than two people. Right now, we had three people. Yeah, I just would like to share the way. So this is Mei-Tzu Chen. She's on the list. They can contact you if they want to join. We are recite the Medicine Buddha Sutra in Chinese. I just suggest that we can use this practice more for recite the Lotus Sutra in English. And you're in the Eastern time zone, right? But the person I recite together with, one person, One person is in Madison, Wisconsin. The other person is in Austin, Texas. Anne? Yeah, I wanted to comment on the zones, the time zones. I work with the no abode people, which is a little late for me.


It's nine at night, but I really feel connected to these people. And I think it would be nice if you would not necessarily limit people to a particular zone, but give them the option to join where they want to join. Yeah, I agree. It isn't so much limit. It isn't saying, you're not saying you have to go to that time zone, but rather provide different time zones. So if the people in the Europe want to go to the California time zone and be up late, that's fine. But it might be nice if there was a European time that wasn't so late. Like some people, I have one group of people who have been in Shuso, and they meet on Sunday afternoon, but that's midnight in Germany. So some people in Germany want to join, but then they give up. It's just too late for them.


So I agree with you, Anne. I think people should, whatever time zone you're in, you can join whatever time zone, but it would be nice to offer West Coast, Midwest, East Coast, England, and the rest of Europe, those four time zones or five time zones. Karen? This is kind of a change of subject, but somebody mentioned doing service. And I wonder, Rev, if you would have some suggestion for a format for people who are sitting at home, but would like to do some kind of service as a part of that. If there's a, you know, if you would recommend elements or some structure for that. Well, one simple structure, which I think is quite accessible to you all, would be if you have an altar that you light the candle, offer flowers, offer incense, and then do three prostrations,


And then do the formal confession and repentance. All my ancient twisted karma from beginningless greed, hate, and delusion, born through body, speech, and mind, I now fully avow three times. And then chant the refuges in English or in Pali or in Chinese or Sanskrit or Tibetan, or Pali. At Green Gulch, we chant them in Pali and in English. In English, it's, I take refuge in Buddha. I take refuge in Dharma. I take refuge in Sangha. I take refuge in Buddha as the perfect teacher. I take refuge in Dharma as the perfect teacher. I take refuge in Sangha as the perfect life.


Now I have completely taken refuge in Buddha. Now I have completely taken refuge in Dharma. Now I have completely taken refuge in Sangha. That's English. And you can also, of course, we also do Pali, which is, buddham saranam gacchami. Dhammam sarnam gacchami Sangham sarnam gacchami Dutyampi budham sarnam gacchami Dutyampi dhammam sarnam gacchami DITYAM PI SANGAM SARANAM GACCHAMI TATYAM PI BADAM SARANAM GACCHAMI TATYAM PI DAMAM SARANAM GACCHAMI


tātyāmpi saṅgāṃ sāraṇāṃ gacchāṃ So you could do that as your beginning. And then, from there, you've got the whole Buddhist universe of scriptures. You could chant the Heart Sutra. You could chant part of the Lotus Sutra. Traditionally, in Soto Zen monasteries, every morning they chant the verse section of the chapter on Avalokiteshvara, and the verse section on the chapter on the lifespan of the Tathagata. They chant that. So you could also chant that. Anyway, the Heart Sutra. You could chant the Precious Mirror Samadhi, in which there's that phrase about, if you want to accord with the ancient way, please observe the ancients of former times.


When about to fulfill the way of Buddhahood, one gazed at a tree for 10 eons. You could chant that verse. You could chant the merging of harmony and difference. So there's a lot of, you could choose one or more scriptures to chant, and then, To make life simple, I would say, you could just start with dedicating the merit of your chanting by just saying, may our intention equally extend to every being in place with the true merit of Buddha's way. Beings are numberless. You chant the four vows. That would be one simple service that I think you could do all that in 10 minutes. Where would the robe chant fall in that? Well, the robe chant would be before. So, yeah, before you... Also, you know, usually in the temple of Zen Center, we usually sit the first periods without wearing our robes.


But that's with the idea that there's going to be more periods during the day. So, if you're only sitting in the morning, you could wear your robe for your sitting. So then you would put the robe on your head and do the robe chant. Or you could sit without your robe, and then when you finish your sitting, put the robe on your head and do the robe chant, and then do your service. We usually wear our robes when we do service. But in the first period of the morning, we don't necessarily wear our robes. So, Rev, we'll send a copy of what you just sent to everyone. Great. Thank you. And also regarding the January intensive, the design center is very open to people. They want people to participate in this and they're very open to how much you pay. whatever the set price is on the website doesn't mean that you have to pay that if it is not comfortable for you.


So please don't see the fee as keeping you away from practicing. Karen, Yuki, I wonder if you want to give people your email address now so that people who want to just, before they forget, be in touch with you today, they don't have to wait for any messages to come that they could start. The simplest email address for me is k karen m m at k karen m m at Any other things you'd like to offer this morning?


Excuse me, I've seen Grace Damon with her hand up several times. I don't know if, Grace, you wanted to say something, just jumping in here. Um, Reb, I, I wouldn't mind if you talk to us a little bit about a way to be in this time of transition, where maybe there's a little glee in our heart, which we're not fanning, and how to be walk the path in, like this week, this week, and the next couple weeks, I don't know if there's just anything on your mind or heart that you want to impart with us. as we grapple with 70 million unhappy people and 74 million happier people.


Because I often think of what I've been talking about recently, I think of the Buddha in the Lotus Sutra in chapter seven. And that it's it said that that Buddha sat at the place of enlightenment. The Chinese character for that is, it's a character for you know, the Tao, which means the path, but it also means awakening. So this Buddha sat at the Tao, the enlightenment place. And again, I emphasized that in the last two talks.


If you want to be like the ancient Buddhas during this time, if I want to be like the ancient sages during this time, I should follow their example. And to follow their example means to remember their example. So I try to remember the ancient Buddha sitting at the place of awakening. And the place of awakening must be where we are now. I'm here at Noah's Abode, facing a screen with your wonderful faces. That's where I am. And you asked me how to practice with this situation. And if you put 70 million unhappy people on the screen, and I want to follow the example of the ancients, then I have to remember that they would sit here, they would sit upright, and not any place else than where they are, and face 70 million unhappy people, and say face 74 million relieved people.


However, It also said that this Buddha sat at that seat, sat at that place of enlightenment, which is where each of us is. This Buddha is showing us an example of the way to live. Sit at your place. And then it said he sat there and he, it said he vanquished, or he defeated, or he subdued, the Mara, the armies of Mara. He subdued the armies of the deadening, restricting, confining, rigid, tense, frightened energy. He sat there and faced all that energy, which we see in multitude now. So many people are afraid.


So many people are terrified of what's going to happen to them. So many people feel unheard. So many people feel that they aren't going to be able to take care of their family. So much fear. And they want help. And they don't even know it sometimes. This situation is going to continue. These frightened, terrified, angry, confused beings will continue to surround us. Now, they are not Mara. But in what surrounds us, What is the Mara? Mara is the restricted, tense, ungenerous, uncareful way of responding to all the suffering. That's the Mara. That's the demon.


The demon is not relating compassionately to all the suffering. So this Buddha sat where she was and found a way to vitally compassionately, openly, be present at her place, take care of the place she is, and open to all beings. Then Mara's armies were defeated. And then sitting in the same place, This Buddha was showered with celestial flowers. When we relate all suffering beings properly, like the ancients, they are now celestial flowers and celestial music.


But we continue the practice just the same as before. We welcome it. We open to it. We're careful of it. We're respectful of each flower, the same way we're respectful of each demon. That's what the ancients did. We have to remember that's how they related to demons and celestial music. In all cases, be present, open, welcoming, and remember, be mindful of the ancient example and follow it. in each moment with all beings. This is a teaching from the Lotus Sutra, chapter 7. It's a teaching of an example which our Zen ancestors said, here's an example, try that one. So I'm trying that example.


I welcome you to follow the example of this great Buddha. And you'll find that Buddha's example in chapter seven of the Lotus Sutra. Also, again, it's in the Precious Mirror Samadhi. It's the Buddha example used in our Zen verse called the Precious Mirror Samadhi. And it's also case nine of the Koan collection called Gateless Barrier, Mumonkan. Number nine. That's what comes to mind. And if you ask me next week, I may have something quite different. But I hope I never forget that Buddha. And I hope I never forget you.


And I want to follow the example of that Buddha in the way I relate to you. If you're happy with me, If you're unhappy with me, I want to relate to your happiness and unhappiness, like that Buddha did, like that Buddha does. That's another version of the bodhisattva vow. And again, that Buddha was a bodhisattva until that Buddha became a Buddha. And you're a bodhisattva until you become a Buddha. And before Buddhas were Buddhas, they were just like you. They're just like you. They had a seat, just like you do. How wonderful that each of us has the place of awakening to practice.


By the way, pace of awakening, that word Dao could also be place of practice. So the Chinese character Dao means awakening and path, and path means practice. So it means place of the awakening, place of the path, and place of practice. And the fun thing is also that the Chinese character means to speak. So it's a place to speak, too. It's a place to say, I want to remember the ancient examples in this world of suffering and confusion and change and crisis. This is a time for bodhisattvas, friends. We need bodhisattvas at this time. And you have committed to the bodhisattva vows, right? Yeah, you have.


So, that uplifts me and uplifts you. Well, we're almost at noon. Is there anything else you'd like to bring up today? So again, I wish you well at your place of practice. I wish you well at your place of awakening. I wish you well in your remembering the ancient examples. And I thank you all for coming. And I thank you all for... Marjorie, did you just join? I didn't call your name before. Did I? Did I forget to call your name? Did I not see you?


No, Rev, you call. I just took a step away for a moment. Okay. I've been here the whole time. Did I call your name at the beginning? Yes, you did. Thank you. Great. Both of us. It's been so long. I'm just so grateful you came today. Thank you so much. And I hope you enjoy seeing Noel Bode. He's still here, in good condition. Thank you for taking care of it. And Marjorie, George's name is on the altar. Can you see it? It's on the altar right there. Right there. May our intention equally extend to every being and place with the true merit of Buddha's way. Beings are numberless. I vow to save them. Delusions are inexhaustible.


I vow to cut through. Dharma gates are boundless. I vow to enter them. Buddha way is unsurpassable. I vow to become it. Thank you, Rob. Bye-bye. Thanks, Rob. Thank you, Rob. Bye.