Protecting and Liberating All Beings

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A residential retreat at Mount Madonna.

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I think it says on the schedule that there's going to be a closing ceremony now. Does it say that? Closing circle. It's not a circle, it's a circle. Let's do a ceremony. Amanda, Kurt, Nan, Kurt, Elizabeth, Tracy, Jeff, Jim, Jeff, Liz, Barbara, Bruce, Jessica, Kevin, Peter, Judy, David, Yuki, Paul, Leon, Beth,


Matt, Beth, Jason, Paul, Kent, Haley, Amanda, Lisa, Elizabeth, Tina, Vivian, Linda, Susan, Angela, Kim, Barry, Reb. Do you want to make a circle? Hmm? Great. Okay, so, sitting for starters, please. That's my preference.


Yes. This is fine for me. It can be, there can be circles within the circle. Can you make a circle? Please, there's a space here.


Yeah, that's good. Thank you. Is there anything you'd like to bring up? Anything you'd like to offer? Any questions? Any comments? Elizabeth? I think it's so important to thank Karen, because she really did a vast, gorgeous, immense job for this, for more than a year, you know, throughout this weekend.


And just, wow, I want to compliment her completely. Thank you. Thank you all. I kind of want to say, God bless Elizabeth and Angela, because it was so, it was such a joy. And I had some help from Elizabeth, and I had some help from Angela, and a great deal of help from Barry. And from many people who encouraged me, from Bob, yes, who has done a magnificent job with sound and recording all weekend. Bob. I guess there was something I did want to say, which is that many years ago, I went to a talk with Adelie Loma, in which she said, Compassion in daily life is simply genuine friendliness.


And I feel like, you know, we have manifested this kind of feeling of pride throughout this whole weekend. It's just awesome. Thank you. I'd like to offer something. I'd like to offer my gratitude for this time and this place, and also for all of you to help me in my practice.


The one thing that will stick in my mind from this teaching is having compassion and being intimate with our cosmic consciousness. And hearing the stories and the offerings that many of you gave, gave me an opportunity to be able to practice that intimacy with what you were experiencing, or at least what I think you were experiencing. So, anyway, I'm very grateful for this opportunity. It's very good. It was a lot. I feel very full. Like Thanksgiving, you know, after Thanksgiving, too much food. And so I'm going to have to lay down for a bit now. Digest. Digest everything.


Oh. So, anyway, thank you all again. Could you make a chair for Christophe? So, I also wanted to offer my thanks to Karen for bringing us here, and bringing Reb here, and to Reb for offering the gift of himself to us. To my mother, and through my mother to me.


I had a Zoom meeting with her mother in India. Because my mother, when she saw Reb, recognized and acknowledged that he's a gift to the world. I just want to say I'm new to this sangha, and I felt very welcome, and I really appreciate that. And the whole teaching of intimate with uncomfortable feelings in life, karma, is new to me, and I'm looking forward to exploring that.


So, thank you, Reb, and thank you, everybody. Thank you, Kent. Aye, greetings, everyone. I, too, like all of you, just find the unbelievable opportunity to all be gathered together to study the Dharma. It's very special that we study together like this. What I wanted to emphasize is how meaningful it is that all of us, I know for myself, have been able to talk to almost virtually everyone here about the things Reb is teaching. Checking out our stories, sharing what's going on with us. Am I still in reality? No. Have you ever been in reality? Anyway, I'm grateful to all of you. Thank you. Thank you.


I seem to remember a teaching from early on which was something like birth and death in each moment. And during the pandemic, I would get off the phone from seeing someone, or I would go to the grocery store and come back. And then there would be a fair amount of time before the next event happened. And I thought, well, what is this feeling that's coming up? And it was sadness at that arc of imagining an event, living an event, and coming to the seeming end of the event. At least that would be the story in my mind. And how it feels so sad. I can feel that now as we've come through this particular event.


And I don't want to really do anything with it. Thank you. I'm also new to the Sangha. And it has been so delightful to be here. And I feel a different quality of Sangha than I have felt before. Thank you for the invitation, Reb. Feeling how we support each other, sitting, becoming intimate together. I really have felt that in the welcome and in the presence in Zazen and in the dining room.


And with all the sharing, the walks and the conversations. And I hope this isn't irreverent, Reb, but I have always felt, and felt again this weekend, that this delight when I hear you teach. And I've had this thought, you're my favorite comedian. I never laugh with such joy and depth as when you're illuminating in your teaching. And I'm carrying that joy with me in this teaching and invitation to intimacy and compassion. Thank you. It took me quite some time to settle in this weekend, the first few sessions.


It took me a lot of concentration, hearing. And I so appreciate, like this morning, it was all crystal clear. I could hear Reb and everybody talking with this baton. And I noticed how much easier it is to be attentive and to be present when I don't have to constantly try to understand all what people say. And be able being part of everybody. I just noticed sitting in the circle now how deeply I'm touched. I also feel the fullness. A gratefulness and ease also after almost two years not seeing people.


I live alone and it was very challenging, like for many people in many ways I know. And it makes a huge difference for me to be in the presence of real being directly. So thank you very much. Thank you, Reb. Thank you. Thank you. I think the mind is full of confusion.


I've watched my mind and I think I'm beginning to be compassionate towards the confusion. With the support of all of you here. And sitting compassionately with the four aspects. And I'm speaking mainly of confusion. You've all helped me to begin the process of the realization that I can't, it's not my confusion.


And possibly I'm beginning to see that I can't find confusion in my mind. And I'm deeply grateful. Thank you. And Suzuki Roshi didn't name you the whole works for nothing. Thank you.


I'm also new to this Sangha. And I'm thankful for how welcoming it's been. And I've heard it said that practicing Zen is being your true self and being intimate. And for me, sometimes that can be a challenge. It involves trust and really being present. And being in a context where you feel welcomed and there's a level of trust allows that to happen more readily. And so I'm very thankful for that. And so thank you for your teaching, Reb. And everyone else for your support. Thank you.


Thank you. I was thinking how it's not only Reb that's very funny, but this group. It's the works. But then I thought that I shouldn't take the microphone for that. It occurred to me the talking stick and the circle. I was very attached to the way I taught because we made a circle. And we had a practice of passing an object to when your turn to talk and how lovely it builds community.


And the teaching I'm taking is of no preferences. It's a very hard teaching because check this out compared to Zoom. Clearly observe. That's funny. What's your name? I forgot your name. Vivian. Vivian, yeah. I just wanted to add my appreciation for especially for Marlena.


Are you here? Hi. Vivian, at the end, Elizabeth for reminding us of some of the suffering that isn't just individual. And that is, you know, structural or collective. Because it's very common and easy for people who are especially who are quite privileged to really be involved in practicing for compassion and awareness in our own lives. But thank you for bringing that larger life into the room. A few times. Yeah.


Okay. Okay. Okay. This list. For this great assembly, I am very grateful. And I would also like to reflect on the enormous gift that you gave to us on Zoom. Weeks when I was very isolated. On Saturday at 10 or Sunday at 10. I could get your face completely in front of me. And often when I'm in a group like this, I know you're talking directly to me. And so then having you and I just there was also you talking directly to me. And I appreciated it and continue to appreciate it so much. Although I love this opportunity.


It takes some time and distance for me to get face to face with you. But I'm almost getting used to that facsimile. And I have a preference. That maybe you won't stop doing Zoom. Thank you all. Thank you, Rep. Thank you.


Thank you. Extremely prefers benefiting all. So when I hear people benefiting Zoom. And when I hear people benefiting circles like this. It makes me feel complete. Thank you.


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I just want to make the offering to the group that. And I'm offering this to myself as well, which is to continue to explore the basis of preferences. And yeah, I just wanted to encourage that in myself and others. And I want to express my gratitude for being able to hear the Dharma. And when I think about a life that's been filled with opportunities to hear the Dharma


and practice the Dharma and be supported to practice the Dharma and realize the Dharma, I just, it's just, it's beyond anything I can really express. And I'm hearing, you know, don't waste your life. And I feel like, you know, I've had such a fortunate life to really understand, you know, don't waste your life to engage with the Dharma and practice the Dharma. I've just been so fortunate. So I just wanted to express that and offer that to everyone. Thank you and thank you. Tension Roshi. Okay.


Okay. Okay. Okay. goodbyes are difficult. I like to say to be continued these days. And I really feel I


needed to thank you, thank Paul for the recording. And thank you, Susan, so much for being Jisha? Or is there another word? I don't know. But thank you for the doku-san tending. And thank you, Amanda, for the bell ringing. And thank you, everyone, for being with me this weekend. And Reb, I want to let that one sit for a moment. Thank you, everyone, for being with me this weekend. And Reb, I hope you hear that my whole life is a thank you to you. That my practice and my life are a thank you to you. And I hope you hear that. Thank you.


Thank you. My heart's pounding, perhaps because I got excited about something I was just feeling or realizing. And as I took my first steps, I said, maybe you should have waited. But I can feel the exquisiteness of this moment that we're all speaking of. And it feels like that timeless moment that has the whole last 18 months in it.


So we've all sort of percolated and erupted isn't the right word, but I won't wait for it right now. And I thought, all these gratitudes for this weekend. And unlike usual, when that happens, there's thoughts of the future. And I really, I really don't have thoughts for the future, particularly about COVID like this could be a little, a little moment in time. There's no expected subsequent. And now I fear rambling on. So I'll let that be what comes out right now. Thank you.


But thank you for this lovely sharing this weekend. We're at the end. We've had a very emotional day. But I would like to remind you of the beginning. Reb gave us a very interesting intellectual gift, in my opinion, on the first day, when he introduced the distinctions between preference, wish, desire, vow. Those are important distinctions. They're very subtle. And in their subtlety, I think lies a deepness that would be worth pursuing. And he also emphasized how we could do testing of our various things. I suggest that we take those concepts that he gave us,


which are all part of our lives, and play with them. Play with them so that you figure out when you have a preference and when you have a desire, and when one isn't the other, and so forth. So I think that, for me, is a big takeaway from this session. And it was in the beginning, so I emphasize that. The other thing that I really appreciated were the two stories about in the weeds and on the grass meditating, where when you ask the man, what are you thinking? He said, I'm not thinking anything. Well, then you must be not awake. No, I'm thinking too, but I'm in non-thinking. I think that was a profound distinction as well. So I want to just leave you with, everybody's talked about the emotional thing, but I would like to leave you with those two things, I think, that are pretty profound intellectual


distinctions in the Dharma. So thank you, Rev. I appreciate that a lot. As a largely solitary person, I want to thank my friend Marie for enticing me to get out of my solitude and come to this event. It's been very rewarding. I think that it's been a wonderful experience to be introduced firsthand in person to this


system of great compassion and lack of preference. But what I really, really want to say is that so many people came up with so many great questions and experiences it's not always easy to speak out in a fairly large gathering. And all of those questions, I think that the real substance of this weekend has been in Rev's responses to the questions and the issues brought up by people. So I want to thank every one of you who who participated in that and made this so much an exercise in back and forth and dual arising. So, Tracy told me she's going to leave at 12.05. So it's almost 12. And so that we don't have to


lose her. We're going to lose them. We're going to lose them. So before we lose them, I shouldn't say before they abandon us, for a better world, I wanted to say that I feel that the Sangha has expressed the teaching very well. Thank you so much for summarizing it so well at the end. And I've said this before, but I'll say it again. Bodhisattvas enter, well actually they get invited to enter the world of suffering. And they enter there to teach people how to observe it and play with it. So I think we've done well. We've entered the world of suffering here together.


We've observed it and we've played with it. And hopefully we are discovering the truth of it also, just like some other people did in the past. So thank you very much everybody for receiving the Dharma and giving it back. Please continue. And before Leon does his usual request, I will offer what he's asking for. Ready? This is the Mount Medina farewell song. When the red, red robin comes bop, bop, bopping along, along, there'll be no more sobbing when she starts throbbing her old sweet song. Wake up, wake up, you sleepy head. Get up,


get up out of bed. Cheer up, cheer up, the sun is red. Live, love, laugh and be happy. Then comes the part that people don't know so well. Though I'm walking through fields of flowers, rain may glisten, but still I listen for hours and hours. I'm just a kid again doing what I did again, singing a song. When the red, red robin comes bop, bop, bopping along, bop, bop, bop, bopping along. Congratulations to the Mount Medina old-timers for having a reunion and thanks for the old-timers to welcome the new-timers.


And have a safe journey back. Yes? Yes, um, if you've used Madonna's supplies, the blankets and stuff, there's a counter-counter to obviously collecting the things that you used for the various things in the car because they'll clean them. And otherwise, you know, you can set up the chairs in the back. I don't know if you want the cushions in there. I think so. I'm not sure about that, but let's do it. Is there a time we're supposed to be out of the room?


What do we do with the keys? There's a little slide by the office door. Just put it in there. I think we want to continue.