Song of the Jewel Mirror Samadhi, Part 9

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Here I am sitting before a camera and I wanted to say for the camera that I have mixed feelings about being filmed. video recorded, and now I'm getting asked more and more to do that. Like, I was asked to live stream the Koan class at Green Gulch that's on Monday nights, and I couldn't accept the invitation. This is not live stream. And this recording has not yet been released. These recordings have not yet been released, the audio and the video.


So I'm thinking about when I'm ready to release this upon the world. So I'm feeling my way into how much of the practice I'm ready for the whole world to be watching besides the people who are here. And so if you have some mixed feelings about it, I share them with you. And some people are, again, asking for this. I'm not ready just to say okay to all the requests, but I'm letting this recording happen. This is something I want to practice with. At the end of the vow which we just recited, the vow of a, I guess, let's see, that would be like an 18th century, 17th and 18th century, so-called Zen master, Zen master Torre, at the end it says,


It's wishing for that all beings, that we together with all beings will realize maturity in Buddha's wisdom. That sounds okay, doesn't it? That's a wish. Are you okay with that wish? Any problems with that wish? Please let me know. But some of the earlier parts, when I listen to that, I can imagine some people think that that's just insane. that we would respond to a sworn enemy with compassion. Some people would say, that's just crazy. Some people might say that. Particularly today. Yeah, particularly today. Like today, some people would say, that's crazy. But there it is, that's a message from the ancestors, is to vow, to wish and to commit to coming back to meeting cruelty and injustice, to meet cruelty with kindness, to meet injustice with justice.


to meet violence with non-violence. This is the example of the Buddhas, and this is the vow of the Bodhisattvas, is to learn to do that. And before I came to practice Zen, I knew how to meet violence with violence. Occasionally, I would meet violence with non-violence, which I enjoyed that. Occasionally that would happen, and that was quite fun, to have violence come and meet it with non-violence. I really enjoyed that. But a more basic reaction, which I didn't have to train for, was to have a violent reaction to violence. And then I heard of the possibility of having a non-violent reaction to violence, and I thought, I want to learn that, I want to learn more about that.


And I still think that I want to learn that. And if it arises, I'm just so pleased that if I'm disliked, then I would meet that with compassion. If I'm insulted, and disparaged, I would meet that with gratitude, and ethical conduct, and patience, and calm. Whenever that happens, I'm so happy that it's happening. Yes? Pardon? Yeah. So at 8 in the morning, insult came and there was a compassionate response to it. That's using the 24 hours rather than being used by the 24 hours.


At noon, I was praised and I met that with compassion. That's using the 24 hours. Using the 24 hours as opportunities to practice compassion. rather than getting pushed around by the 24 hours into habit. Yes? In terms of implication and the wording of this particular thing, that if someone is mean to us, it's because we deserve that treatment, we receive that treatment. Did you hear what she said? One way to interpret that is, is that because of our past karma, we get opportunities to transcend it.


So we're rewarded by our for our past karma by being given challenges to practice compassion. If we have completely embraced and processed the results of all of our past karma, in other words, nothing more, no more challenges are coming, then we have a situation called complete Buddhahood. There's no more karma to deal with, because we've eaten it all with proper chewing, with compassionate ingestion and digestion. But as long as we have not processed it all, it keeps coming and giving us opportunities to convert the results of past karma, which are


the support of our consciousness, our unconscious processes, are the result of our past karma, which is supporting consciousness. And by the way we deal with it, we reverse, we transform all the past karma, all the results of past karma. So everything that comes to us as an opportunity of practice will keep coming until we've processed it all. But we're not by ourselves responsible for all of our past karma. A lot of factors contribute to it, but we get special offerings to practice compassion with. And so the challenge is to remember that everything that's being given is an opportunity to realize Buddha's wisdom. And that we'll keep getting offerings


until Buddha's wisdom is fully realized. And even then, we will kind of become what we call wisdom slaves, and we will function as wisdom for all beings who still have processing to do. So it's not like our job ends at Buddhahood, but Buddha continues to be, in a way, a bodhisattva. of working with beings and transforming beings. The life of Buddha, after Buddha is completed, that particular evolutionary line gets no more challenges, so all it is, is the conversion and edification of other beings. Because it's not a being anymore, it's just wisdom. That's the way I would respond to that. There's no blame, there's only responsibility. And responsibility is unlimited, and unlimited in terms of how wide it is, and unlimited in terms of how many opportunities there are.


There's always an opportunity to respond skillfully or not. Every moment we have the ability to respond to what's given more or less skillfully, more or less compassionately. So I think it was Homa, Justin and Johnny. So when you say there is no end to this process, But I see wisdom as the end itself. That is the end. So there is an end. Wisdom is the end. However, the end and the means are the same. What is the means? The means is compassion. And there is no end to compassion unless there were no beings suffering.


But as long as there are suffering beings, there needs to be compassion. So compassion is endless, so wisdom is endless. Even though wisdom is the goal, the means is inseparable from the goal. Or the Bodhisattva career, which is the means to Buddhahood, is the same as Buddhahood. So we are both working with our own and other people's suffering, We're working with our own delusions, and by that very fact, we are doing Buddha's work. So we are Buddhas and Bodhisattvas at the same time. And if there ever were an end to suffering beings, like if we sort of had no more reproduction, no more new babies born, so we have no untrained people being born,


and we just train everybody that was alive perfectly, then there would be no more need for compassion. There would just be reality. Everyone would realize it. There would be no suffering. We don't need the Buddha way anymore in the form of compassion. There would just be reality, period. And nobody would be wiggling around anymore. Justin? You said I believe that there are, you talked about the results of our past karma and you said that You kind of said, not just your own, but others. Can you just explain that a little bit? I tend to think of, when I contemplate karma, that everything I see, experience, feel, is a result of my past actions in this lifetime or others. But you said, I think that it has to do with others' actions as well. Or is it going to be that my actions influence others' actions, which create a cycle?


The consequence of my actions and the consequence of your actions are intimate. They're not separate. And just like you and me are not separate, the consequence of our consciousness, the consequences are not separate. There is, in a sense, a kind of, what's it called, a discrimination you can make between your sense organs and my sense organs. My sense organs are not your sense organs. My consciousness is not your consciousness. But that doesn't mean that my sense organs are separate from yours, because they're interdependent. Not being the same does not mean separate. So, awareness, in consciousness awareness, and objects of awareness are not separate, but they're not completely the same either.


They're two sides of consciousness, but they're not really separate. They look separate, and the appearance of separation is not separate from the knowing of the appearance of separation. So the very appearance of separation is not separate from the awareness of it. It's an illusion. And the appearance of separation is based sort of on the belief, I should say, it's either the belief in a separate self, and that belief in a separate self requires ignorance, or you could say, requires not being really attentive. If we're really attentive to the self, we will see that it's not a permanent, independent powerhouse. And if we're really attentive, we'll notice, as we approach really deep attentiveness to self, we'll notice that there's a desire


for the self to be in control of the objects that are known in consciousness. And we can notice that that's stressful and painful. And that attentiveness can lead us to freedom from belief in the independent self and freedom from wishing that the independent self would get control of the universe. Johnny? Yes. Having been a Navy commander, I was for many years a goon for the... I thought you were going to say guru. Goon. G-O-O-N. I didn't know that's how you spelled it, thanks. Gene. A goon is somebody who does the... who executes the will of somebody else.


Ah! It's somebody who works for... who's an employee of somebody else's will. Right. Often unwholesome will. And I was a goon for many of the causes and conditions, even in the Middle East, that have matured to what happened yesterday in Paris. I didn't accept the retirement from the Navy because I couldn't ethically do that anymore. At the same time, I had a realization that a compassionate response of people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jesus... Torres, NG? I don't know about his life, but maybe so. Maybe you should say his vow. Their response was not just about achieving some kind of equanimity with what was going on. Their response was to speak to the causes and conditions and to invite retribution on themselves, if necessary, as a kind of way of manifesting what those causes and conditions produce.


And it's part of my struggle when I hear some of our teachings Why aren't we, as practitioners, more like Martin Luther King or Gandhi or Thich Nhat Hanh, who actually showed up vulnerable and exposed what was there? They didn't attack anybody, but they invited truth to attack them. That, to me, seems like a compassionate response. Is it not? Or is that something outside our school? I guess if you feel like the only way to help people is to do something so that you'll be attacked and which will be also media observed, it wasn't just that Martin Luther King, the story I heard was, it wasn't just that he invited people to attack him, but he invited people to attack him where it would be witnessed.


And then people all over the country would see that people are treated like that. He didn't go into some place, some dark alley, to get beat up. He got beat up with media coverage, and he thought that that would be helpful. And maybe he was right. Maybe that was a key factor in transforming the laws of our country. And it's maybe the same for Gandhi. They did it in public. Who's the third person? Thich Nhat Hanh. Or Jesus? Well, I don't think Thich Nhat Hanh, I don't see him getting attacked. He invited it in Vietnam. Yeah, he did. Early in his life. But I don't think he got attacked. No, he didn't, but he invited it. Yeah. And so I have spoken in these circles about North and loving-kindness, you know, and about Maitreya showing up and saying, hey, we can say things to... Well, I think some people in our school do, like they do do, what do you call it, civil disobedience. They don't necessarily ask the police to beat them up, but they do get arrested and go to jail.


Some people do that. I myself went to a civil disobedience event at the nuclear test site outside Las Vegas, and I did a Buddha's birthday ceremony there, because it was Buddha's birthday, but I did not actually so-called break the law and go into the test site where I wasn't supposed to be. So I didn't get arrested, but I was there supporting those who did. And they didn't beat anybody up in that case, but they did get arrested. I was thinking more of training leaders, talking to leaders about ethical conduct, and not just confronting them. Are there any leaders here? I think we're all leading in some way. So if there's any leaders here, I think we're trying to train the leaders here. Leaders are leaders of former leaders.


So we are trying to train the leaders. I don't know how many leaders there are at Zen Center, but I just heard at the break about somebody being invited to be a leader by somebody who was invited to be a leader. So I think some people do take leadership roles in this room. In different circumstances, you're being leaders. Are you guys making a distinction between leadership and activism? I am. Activism can be leaderly, but I'm talking about being conspicuous about our ethics. So then, let's be conspicuous about our ethics as much as each of us feels ready to be conspicuous.


So, we do have public events in our school where people get up and display their ethics in front of people. Also, we let people come and live with us. And then we display ethics back and forth between ourselves. So I think we are doing that. But somehow, and again, I'm getting asked to display my ethics on media and I'm kind of saying, I don't know if I'm ready to be live streamed. our ethical practice that we're doing together, I'm not ready necessarily for it to be live-streamed. Sometimes I go places and I understand, this is going to be live-streamed. If I walk in that door, it's going to be live-streamed and I accept it. And on some occasions people say, could we live-stream this because of such and such? And I say, okay. So then in that case it is So I think we're feeling our way to what is the appropriate public display of our practice.


We're finding our way. Suzuki Roshi was displaying his ethics, and he did it in his office with one person, and then he did it in front of groups of people. But he passed away before, you know, and he did it in two films. Also he left two, twice he was filmed, so films of him are out there. So that's him showing his ethics. But he left his country. He left his country. I think in his country he was also trying to display his ethical practice, but I think he wanted to give that display to a foreign country. And so then he did, and then we have this Zen center. These Zen centers. So that's pretty radical, that he did. Yeah. And now look at the results. Yeah.


And if I get invited to go someplace where I've never been, and where there isn't much presence of demonstration of Buddhist ethics, I usually will go and then offer some public display, some public demonstration, and usually people who come are quite open. They're not there because they have to be, so there's an openness and then there's a demonstration and then sometimes there's an awakening to the Buddha's wisdom. But then the question is, you know, which places do I go? So I don't necessarily go someplace repeatedly if there isn't many people there, because there's a lot of people here. So I am trying to publicly show myself and show my practice, and then the question is how much coverage, how much dispersal is appropriate.


Yes, yes. Was there anybody else that I didn't see out there? Yes? I'm just wondering how you weigh in someone like Schindler, which is not a public display of ethics. And how do you know there's not a Schindler working for the Atomic Energy Commission or something? I don't know that. We don't know that. So I think for any person in this room, I don't think For me, I can't see that a quote-unquote public display is necessarily the most efficacious thing for actually transforming the world. It's just really hard to know what's really efficacious. Yeah. Logically, going to the most or the least or never or always is not a good place to have a conversation. So I can see your point.


Yeah, so some people are benefiting the world and no one knows about it. But it's still beneficial. But some other people think, I think I need to go public in order to help people. So Martin Luther King, he might have been quite ethical and quite helpful before he went public. But actually, I don't know how it all works, but sometimes it does work. Our founder, he actually wasn't sure he should go public at the beginning. He wasn't primarily thinking that the way to realize freedom from suffering was to go public. And then he did realize freedom, and then he got an invitation to go public. That's the story. And he thought, well, this is what I've discovered is so awesome and amazing that people will just like, they'll think it's crazy.


So I don't think I should tell them. Probably better not to tell them than for them to think it's crazy. And then he got a request from pretty impressive people. So he said, and then he thought, he said, okay, let me look now. And he looked and he said, well, maybe there are some people for whom going public would be good. So he started with these five old friends, and it was good. But for a while there, he wasn't sure that... It wasn't that he wasn't doing good before he started teaching, it's just that once he started teaching, then another kind of good started happening. Just a second. Yes? Just two thoughts about the media thing and the doing good thing. Just the doing good in small ways, like, you know, if you raise a child or whatever, that's not really public, but it can make a huge difference, right?


Yeah. Maybe, like, critic Not Han's mother and Martin Luther King's mother. and Buddha's mother, you know? Because of Buddha's mother, we have Buddha. And she wasn't that public about it, it wasn't an immediate event. Now, of course, it would be if we could see Buddha's mother, she would be very popular. So just such a small thing, but one is doing that wholeheartedly. And we're doing that. We are doing that. And then the question is, sometimes is it good to do it publicly? Right, the idea of invitation. Yeah, the Buddha was big on invitations. The Buddha did not give teachings unless asked. And he was asked. And I offer teachings here, but I understand that you're asking me to.


Not that I'm telling you to come and let me give you teachings, but that you're asking me to, by coming here. We don't formally do it, but in some situations, at the beginning of a Dharma talk, the assembly asks the teacher to come. Or the assembly sends a representative, you know, would you please go ask the teacher to come and teach. They used to do that. send their leader to go ask the teacher, the Buddha, or other Buddha's disciples, go ask the Buddha's disciple to come and teach. So invitation is a big part of it. And so I hear Johnny inviting us to share the teaching in ways, in appropriate ways, which might be difficult for us. But if we're offering something good, maybe it's worth it to offer something, even if it's difficult.


You were saying, who was inviting? Johnny? This is Johnny. He's kind of inviting us to offer our practice in many ways, including in situations where we might not be appreciated, he's inviting us. But he's inviting us to go be with some people who might not invite us. Also the idea of the film, you know, filming something. Yeah. It's like, I was talking to you about email, you know, this idea of, like, just saying I'm only going to, I don't want to go somewhere to check if there's email. I want somebody to call me if they need me to know something because it's like being invited, actually seeing the light flashing on a message machine instead of going out there and saying, like, who in the world might have sent me something important today?


So this idea of film is a little bit like, well, if there's film, then the I wonder if it's a little bit like email where it's inviting us away from our world that's right around us. It's a virtual thing. Maybe it takes us away from the teachers who are there. Right, yeah. It's like if I'm always in the world of who's communicating with me, then I'm not right here. So if I'm watching a film, I'm not with the teachers who are around me. you're not really in the film the way you are with the people you're meeting. I don't know. I haven't seen a film. But you would think it wouldn't translate exactly. So it becomes a little bit of an illusion until somebody figures out, oh, this doesn't work. It's not like meeting Rab or the Dalai Lama. I need to go meet those people.


I need to go to them or go to the meeting center when they come here, or find the teacher who's here. Well, who was next? Was it you? Yeah. Justin? Yes. I had maybe more of a statement than a question, but... That's fine. I feel like if we don't have necessarily examples of people going into the world from Zen Center where they're uninvited, what you do is protect this practice and try to create the lineage holders and leaders for us to go out and do these things, for others to go out and do these things, but you are the protector of this Zen Center school and practice and I'm very glad you are where you are and that you're available to so many of us.


Yeah, that's what I'm trying to do. And I'm telling you that you have the teaching too. You have the teaching of suchness and I'm inviting you to also take care of it. And I'm putting my life forward to tell you that you have it and that since you have it, please take care of it. And also I get invitations. Like I got invited to go to an AIDS vigil at Christ Cathedral or something. And I actually felt good about going. But it's at the same time as the beginning of our rohatsu sashin at Green Gulch. So I said, I have this conflict, so I'm not going to come. But I said, I'd like to come to other things like that. So they wrote back and said, well, they're going to have a memorial service for homeless people.


homeless people who died in the streets, so they're going to have a memorial ceremony for that. So I got invited to that, and I think looking at the schedule, I might be able to go to that. So that's an invitation. And it's possible that somebody will attack me when I'm going to the church. And that's what I've been practicing Zen for, is to like... If I get attacked on the way to the memorial ceremony for homeless people, I want to see if I can, like, welcome it. That's what I've been training for. But I'm not asking people to attack me. I just am going to go to the event, and if they do, I want to do my best. And if I do my best, I hope there's media coverage. Channel 5 News. Zen priest attacked approaching Grace Cathedral.


Watch how he does it. Very interesting what he did. Stay tuned. See what the Zen priest does when attacked on Knob Hill. So I hope I do well. Thank you very much for another amazing day at Noah Bode. May our attention 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 end them. Dharma gates are boundless, I vow to enter them.


Buddha's way is unsurpassable, I vow to become it.