Stories of Enlightenment

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.

This talk will not appear in the main Search results:



In our class this fall we will contemplate and converse about several stories of Zen practice and enlightenment. Our contemplation and conversations will naturally bring up questions and concerns about our daily life and how to meet the great and small challenges of our wonderful and troubled world in beneficial and liberating ways.

AI Summary: 



In the midst of the last meeting we had here, a story came up, which is the first story in the book of Serenity. It's a simple story. And being the first story in the book, I think could be taken as this story is a central story in the school of the person who set the foundation for the book. The person is Hangzhi Zhengyue, Chinese Zen teacher, Chinese Buddha Dharma teacher. And he put that story first. And that story is called The World Honored One


Ascends the Seat. Last week it seemed quite apropos to bring it up, so there it came. And then I asked you to write, and I told you the poem which celebrates the case. And I asked you to write poems. And some of you did. Thank you very much. Would any people like to recite the poem that came up for them? Would you like to recite a poem about anything? Yes, I have a poem. About? A couple of weeks before. OK, what's the story this poem is about? Yes, absolutely. The story of Linji's Great Enlightenment, where he got slapped three times. OK, this is Jeff's poem about Linji's Great Enlightenment.


Slap. Oop. A metaphor for whacking one's way out of the weeds of doubt. Maybe OK. Just bear with me. Not all old stories or ancient masters are worthy of veneration. Once again, not all old stories or ancient masters are worthy of veneration. Thank you. Thank you. So this story is the world's only one who gets up on the seat, and doesn't say so, but sat on the seat, the dharma seat, the teaching seat. And we don't know how long that sitting was going on, but his great student, the bodhisattva of wisdom,


Manjushri, struck the gavel and said, clearly observe. The dharma of the teacher of dharma, the dharma of the teacher of dharma is thus. And then the world on and went, got down from the seat. And I think it was this morning, somebody said to me, I was talking about clearly observing. This person was talking about various things, and raising various questions. And I kept asking him if he was clearly observing his questions. It seemed like he was actually, he


had been trying to practice clearly observing, and then he started asking questions. But when he started asking questions, I felt like he kind of fell into the questions, and kind of got concerned with answering the questions, and gave up the practice of clearly observing while he was asking questions. Anyway, one of his questions was, what did the world on and went do after he got down, or why did he get down from the seat? And I said, well, he got down from the seat, I would say for the same reason he got up on the seat. Got up in the seat to open people to Buddha's wisdom.


And he got up in the seat to demonstrate perfect Buddha's wisdom. And he got up in the seat to awaken people to Buddha's wisdom, and to help them enter it. And then he got down, and he got up there for that reason, and he sat there for that reason, and he got down for the same reason. I think when I became Abbot of the Zen Center in San Francisco, and I went to the Founders Hall, I recited a little poem. And I think the poem was, our founder came to Zen Center, or came to San Francisco to practice with us. And he stayed in San Francisco to practice with us, and he left San Francisco to practice with us.


So Manjushri, the Buddha's sitting there, and Manjushri goes, clearly observed. It's not clear if he pointed at the Buddha. Clearly observed the dharma of the teacher of dharma. The dharma of the teacher of dharma is thus. And I think thus is different from this. He didn't say the teaching of dharma is this, like this person sitting there, or this person not sitting there. He said it's thus. Thus is a little bit more dynamic and all-inclusive than this and that. Thus applies to this and that, or this and not this. The way this is, is this is also not this. That's thus. So the Buddhist teaching is thus. And oftentimes when we say clearly observed,


we might say clearly observe what's happening. But they didn't say clearly observe what's happening. They said clearly observe period, but then also after the period, or maybe a comma. The dharma of the teacher of dharma. Clearly observe the dharma of the teacher of dharma. The dharma is not what's happening or not happening. The dharma is the thusness of happenings and not happenings. Clearly observe the teaching, not the happenings. But that doesn't mean you ignore the happenings. But if you see a happening, well you can clearly observe that too. But understand you're observing something that seems to be happening. And you can also observe something you think is not happening,


or the not happening of something. Sometimes we see the not happening of something. Like we see the not happening of happiness. Or the happiness happening. We see those things. So it's not saying observe happiness or observe unhappiness. It's saying observe the teaching, the highest teaching. And then the poem goes, the unique breeze of reality. So if something's happening, the breeze of reality is there with what's happening. If something's not happening or nothing's happening, the unique breeze of reality is there too. It flows through happenings and not happenings. Observe the unique breeze of reality.


And then it says, creation is constantly working her loom and shuttle, incorporating the patterns of spring into the ancient brocade. And so as the loom and shuttle work together, bringing up new patterns, it's hard for us sometimes to clearly observe. Because the new pattern that's being worked into the shuttle, moving through it into the loom, sometimes we, again, get disturbed or shocked by the new movement of the shuttle, and the new question, the wish to get an answer. These are all threads that come up freshly each moment. And then the difficulty is, the challenge is to stay upright


and remember to clearly observe this new springtime pattern. And then watch how the springtime pattern is then integrated with the ancient brocade. And then the last line of the poem is, but nothing can be done about Manjushri's leaking, about Manjushri telling us to look. And that's kind of the secondary which we started with. The awakening is this clearly observing this process of this loom and shuttle working. A clearly observing the process of creation. But there's also the creation of people pointing at the process


and telling us to look at it, and us asking where is it or how can I get a hold of it? That's also part of the thread. And another part of the imagery here is that the loom is a vertical. It's a vertical loom. It's an upright loom. It's an unmoving loom. The loom isn't wobbling. The loom is upright. Receiving the shuttle's activity. And the shuttle is moving. It has the function of bringing the new thread, the fresh thread of creation into relationship with this upright, unmoving stillness and silence. So here we're being encouraged to clearly observe and to clearly observe the process of creation. Where the principle, the upright principle, is being integrated or interfused with the bias


of this turn and that turn of the shuttle, of this thread and that thread, of this color and that thread of spring. These are particulars that are integrated with the universal. We're asked to clearly observe and then have a chance to see this process. And also constant input of people telling us what to do. You know, in very skillful, interesting ways. So, some people wrote poems. Anybody want to recite their poem? Yes? I have two poems. Okay. Two poems from two different berries. Perfect raindrops backlit by the sun rising from the lake they fell into yesterday as mist this morning. Thank you.


Thank you. We're ready for another one. Okay. An egg for breakfast, bacon too. Bacon, bacon, [...] bacon. Thank you. Yes? Yes, please. Even the babbling brook flows at once with the unique breeze of reality. Flowing in from my hand dances with the breeze across my empty page. What will mother creation show us next?


What will? Mother creation show us next. Thank you. Yes? Yes. Thus, seated listener and disciple share the loom, shuttle conversation. Ancient brocade appears. Outside, children laugh. The wind howls. Nothing happens on its own. Hmm. And echoing with your poem is the shuttle converses with the loom and the loom converses with the shuttle. Hmm. The evening shuttle caresses the loom tenderly.


Hmm. The trembling loom caresses the shuttle tenderly. Yes? Okay. Yes? I'm not sure if you said this, or I heard this from somebody else, but Suzuki Roshi once said, saying, isn't that beautiful? Is it still beautiful? Well, he said it, but I've been making him famous for saying it. Hmm? Repeat it again? Yeah. And when he said that, I was rather shocked.


And I thought, that's very strict. Hmm. The beauty of a thing, like a flower, really is the way the flower is, you know, not being what we think the flower is, and is terrifying us. When the flower, like, stands up and says, I'm not a flower, and don't call me that. And when we feel the shock of that, there's the beauty. But for the flower just to be sitting there, and us to go take the word beauty and kind of stick it on it, I think that's what he meant by the sin. To confine the flower to our idea of beauty, rather than to let the flower overwhelm us and feel the beauty. And then maybe, in defense, say, oh, you're so beautiful.


But again, that's a kind of sin. Somebody told me, which I've never been able to verify, and I haven't given up, but anyway, that the word sin comes from, has a root, in some language, meaning to sunder, to split. So when we see a flower, I think he said a flower, actually, and call it beautiful, we sunder the flower relationship by that word. Pardon? We can enjoy the beauty, and then we can also, another way I thought of it is, one time I saw somebody, pardon? We don't have to label it. However, when we do, I think we kind of defile it.


Unless we do it as a joke. You know, like... There is, and again, saying that it's beautiful, saying that it's beautiful, may, what do you call it? Hmm? I didn't say, I'm just saying, that somehow there's joy, and we can defile it. We can defile joy by projecting on it. Even though that whole process is, again, shockingly beautiful. Yes? I'm going to push back a little bit on that, because I feel like words are always going to be inadequate, and there's an assumption that by saying those words, you're imputing some constrained meaning.


It could be you're fully appreciating and overwhelmed by this amazing beauty, and the only words that can come out are how beautiful. Yeah, and that word coming out if we say that that word is that thing, you don't have to go that far. You can just go like, you know... Yeah, to say that this thing, you're overwhelmed, and then sort of like to whack back at it by saying it's beautiful, that's going too far. You can just be knocked down and say beautiful, but you're not saying that's beautiful, or this is beautiful. You're just... It's like... It's like... Yeah. What comes to my mind is various things describing the appropriate response to beauty. The appropriate response is like... So there's, I think, three examples.


One is the example of what's called... It's kind of a Japanese scarecrow, which is called a scare deer. I think they call it a scare deer. You know what it is? Yeah. Yeah, it's like in Japanese gardens, sometimes they have water flowing, and then they have like a bamboo tube, and the bamboo tube is on a pivot, and the water flows into the tube, and when the tube is full, it tips over and pours the water out. And then after it pours the water out, the tube goes back to its original position when it was empty, and when it goes back, the end of the tube hits a rock and goes... and scares the deer. The activity of that device is like when beauty strikes you, and you go... The... doesn't think, oh, that's beauty, or that's the deer.


But if we slip into thinking that what we just said is it, rather than this thing just pokes us and we say, beautiful. You know, and somebody says, why did you say that? And you say, I don't know. I don't know why I said beautiful. You could also go, ugly. You know, you're just like... this word's being squeezed out of you by the relationship. Another example is... and again, I wasn't there at the time, but one time Suzuki Roshi came into the meditation hall before... when Zen Center was over in Japantown. He went into the meditation hall, and usually when you go into the meditation hall, you stop, step inside and stop, join your palms and bow. So he did that. Somebody else was tailgating him. So when he stopped, that person ran into him. And he ran into him as he was bowing,


with his hands like this, and one of his elbows went back and hit the person in the chest. And I don't know what that person thought, but I guess I thought it was just a mechanical reaction of the elbow going into him, which also, by the way, taught him that he was tailgating. But it wasn't like Suzuki Roshi was thinking, that's my understanding, it wasn't like him thinking, oh, I'm going to teach him not to tailgate me. It was more like just the relationship, that intimate relationship brought elbow into chest and led that person to tell the story so I could tell you. This is the transmission of Dharma, but it's not like Suzuki Roshi was teaching him that, and yet the relationship between Suzuki Roshi's body and his practice and this person running into him produced that teaching, that scary, scary teaching. So if the It's Beautiful just pops out


and you don't even know what it's about and then someone says, oh, that was about the flower, and you go, maybe so, maybe it was about the flower. I don't know, I just, I was just possessed with, I was possessed with the word, with the word beautiful and it just popped out at me. That can happen in that relationship. But to think, oh, this is what that is, that's, I would say, it's going overboard. Yes. Yeah, in a way, he was kind of, you could say he was saying, this, there's the teacher. Yeah, this is the great teacher. You know, did you notice, by the way, did you notice the great teacher? So leaking,


leaking is a technical term for, also for, you could say for sin. It's for dual, it's making something dualistic, which isn't, really. So there's a bunch of hands. So Dale and Kim and Katie and Tyler and, yes? Mm-hmm. Yeah. And that dance can produce a comment. However, to say that that comment is the dance, and believe it, rather than have that comment also be part of the dance and you understand it's nothing more than that, it's another, then you're not caught by it,


then you don't fall into the secondary. So there's the dance, and then there's, hey, we're dancing. One time I was practicing tango, I was dancing with somebody, I said, I think we're doing tango. But again, you don't have to fall into that. The tango can produce, maybe we're actually dancing finally, and then not fall into it. So again, if you clearly observe, it's beautiful, but to say it's beautiful and put that on it, let's see, next? Well, I was going to, you kind of touched on it a little bit, that the impulse to describe something or to, you know, for me to say, hey, this is a beautiful flower, is also, or whatever the expression of it is, is also a way of leading together. It could be.


It could be. And also, the weaving together of the community might produce the impulse. Yeah. In fact, the impulses also arrive from a weaving together of the community. The impulses arise from the, the shuttle working with the loom. And if you clearly observe, you realize that this impulse isn't happening by itself. It's happening by being interfused, because a shuttle moving in midair isn't really a shuttle. It's a shuttle moving with the loom that's a shuttle. It's the dance that produces the expressions of the dance. So, in fact, those expressions do enhance the weaving of the community. But if we don't observe it, it's like we can slip into thinking


this impulse happened by itself and this impulse did the weaving, rather than the impulse of moving the shuttle happened without the loom. If you watch carefully, you realize there's no movement of the shuttle without the loom. There's no, there's no arrow really working without the bow. In fact, that's already the case. The question, everything is already doing this. All things are integrating with all the other things all the time. But we can, we can get distracted from that. We can lean into the secondary. Katie? This story about calling a flower people innocent, I feel like it's part of how


Venn gets misunderstood as being full of like strict rules and puns on people. Is that a misunderstanding? I guess part of why I bring that up is because there are people who maybe are having their first experience with Venn in this room tonight and maybe not, but I feel like it seems it seems important to also talk about that if we're like wholeheartedly defiling that flower joyfully and laughing at ourselves and not getting like too serious about being interested in the community's flowers then it's not like wholeheartedly and joyously defiling


isn't actually defiling it. Right. And what you just said could also be misunderstood. Because what you just said was kind of like a Zen thing. And that could be misunderstood. Zen can be misunderstood. And Zen has unfun people and fun people. And those statements can be misunderstood. So Zen is vulnerable to misunderstanding. Tyler? Yeah, it's basically the same. Or for me to say that is Tyler. To say your name is Tyler even is but it's not quite


to say your name is Tyler isn't quite going as far as just saying that is Tyler or Tyler is that or this is Tyler. To say Tyler is thus is more you know again is more undefiled. But again we're not like trying to avoid defilement because that would be another defilement. But in fact just to say it's thus doesn't really tell us anything. But to say it's this to say you're this is kind of defiling you. You're not just this. But to say you're thus I think opens that well you're like this but not like this. The teaching is thus is that a defilement? Well I think if he would say if he would say that word is the teaching but maybe we don't have to go that far with him. I think that the leaking was kind of


he seemed to be like pointing sort of to it seems like he's pointing at the Buddha sitting there. That pointing. So again that resonates with other basic very basic teachings of where for example the one where which I told you in the first class I think I was resonating with this not falling into the secondary and I said about the when the when the Sixth Ancestor had two big disciples or maybe it was the night I talked about his other main disciple two main disciples are Ching Yiran and Nanyue. So when Nanyue met the Sixth Ancestor the Sixth Ancestor said to him what is it that thus comes? Didn't say what is it that comes he said what is it that thus comes which again is a pun on the epithet for Buddha. So he's asking him what is Buddha


and what is and who are you? What is it that this comes? And the monk says to say it's this misses the point. To say that Buddha is this misses the point and to say that I'm this misses the point. Yeah, Manjushri kind of said it's this sort of but then after he said it's this okay now I got your attention by saying it's this you can get people's attention so sometimes you do that and if you don't do that then people might understand misunderstand so since they might misunderstand you say well this is it right there since the Buddha sits up there and doesn't say anything people might not understand that this is the Buddha teaching so tell them look look at this but he also said not just look at it but clearly observe it but then he sort of recovers by saying that


the Dharma is thus but in the story of the Sixth Ancestor talking to Nanyue after Nanyue said to say it's this misses the point then the Sixth Ancestor says well then is there no practice or enlightenment so the first class the story we looked at is there enlightenment or do we need enlightenment or not it's not that we say there's no enlightenment it's just don't fall into the secondary so in this other story the teacher says well then is there no enlightenment if we don't say this is it is there no enlightenment or practice and the monk says I don't say there's no enlightenment or practice I say just don't defile it and then the teacher says this undefiled way is what all the Buddhists are transmitting including the undefiled way can be misunderstood the defiled way can be too of course but maybe people think


the undefiled way then nobody would be able to misunderstand it so Zen is the undefiled way and it can be misunderstood and the defiled way everybody knows that can be misunderstood because it's a misunderstanding but also misunderstandings can be understood correctly and the undefiled way can be understood correctly so somebody is many people are demonstrating the defiled way this is it this is it this is it and some people are teaching it is thus and we don't know what that is and it's overwhelming and when we're overwhelmed we can say beautiful but we don't know what we're talking about because we're overwhelmed okay what was that


we're not trying to get any much better at noticing that kind of beauty because it's been pointed out to me she had to say that flower is beautiful and you better believe it she notices so I notice and notice it I'm thinking about the extension that I did to the soul of art criticism it was great or significant big affair beauty pain well yeah it's essential again it says but nothing can be done about Manjushri's leaking we gotta there's gonna be leaking even when


I went to Sierras one time in September and up high the snow had just melted just like a week before they cleared the roads there was snow all over the place it was springtime up there in September because the snow had just come away and these flowers were it was like it was like a actually like a you know a backyard or a cultivated garden it was so thick with flowers up at the peaks of these mountains and these excuse me for saying so these women were walking through these flowers and like basically passing out they were just like overwhelmed by these flowers just like I don't know if they actually fell down and rolled in them but that's what it felt like they were very they were overwhelmed but they weren't exactly


pointing to the flowers and yet their overwhelming response did sort of it was noticeable and it was wonderful I want to appreciate about this conversation is that I definitely notice a tendency myself to minimize things by calling them beautiful or to try to you know almost brush it under the rug so I can keep moving at my habitual pace and know that if I was to you know to really slow down and to really appreciate that beauty it would kind of like knock me off this track that I think I have to be honest thank you thank you for saying that I think many of us do that like okay beautiful move on just even even even being complimentary


to our environment is a way to you know not stop and be like at the mercy of the beauty I'm too busy to say anything more than that's beautiful see you later so it's good if we notice that and then and then maybe stop and then maybe notice that we're afraid of stopping and maybe we actually stopped a moment before and felt the fear and felt the beauty and then rather than feel it a little longer we just said it's beautiful and moved on and got away from the terror it's yeah it's good to be aware of that Charlie and then Ellen and then Jeff similar


but Justin mentioned someone says how are you doing I'm fine, how are you and completely yeah yeah yeah and you might not feel permission to say I don't know that's one of the advantages of being a Zen priest is you can say I don't know and people say okay you can say that and yeah lately as some of you know my one of my grandsons was accidentally died 30 days ago one of my grandsons died of taking some poison and so people ask me how are you people who know about that ask me how are you


and I say I'm full of life and death that's how I am I'm just full of it not just death and not just life and yeah I can say that because because my grandson died but you can say that too even if your grandson didn't just die you can say because you are you're full of life and death and you don't know what that is so you can also say I don't know and people say also say to me how have you been and I and they let me and I answer I don't remember but I'm here now and I'm glad to see you they can you know they can deal with that with me anyway so that's one of the privileges of being an old priest is you can say I don't know or I don't remember and I'm not going to try to remember I don't say that part I really don't remember


and even if I told you what I remember that wasn't how I have been that's just a memory I'm not my memories I mean the way I was is not my memories the way I am is my memories and I think it's good to to dare to tell people how you actually are feeling and not give that answer and I think people can handle it we can find a way to not just close down shop but it's but again it's risky and again it's dangerous but danger lives right next to opportunity and the Chinese character for crisis is the two characters danger and opportunity together that's where things turn


and danger is not danger is the possibility of being injured or hurt it's not being injured when you actually break your leg that's not a danger but when you're in danger of breaking your leg you might break your leg and then there's also opportunity there opportunity to be careful but the careful the possibility of being careful lives right next door to the possibility of being hurt if you're not careful and that's where beauty is living too is in that danger and that opportunity and if you feel if you don't feel permission to address that crisis in each moment then ask if you could if you ask for support say could I tell you how I'm actually feeling when they ask you can I actually address


the crisis I'm in like somebody just yesterday day before yesterday somebody told me he just had a grandson and I congratulated him and he didn't ask me how my grandson was and I didn't tell him if you'd asked me yeah but he didn't ask me so I just I just shared the joy of him having a five year a five month old boy and I enjoyed not enjoyed I felt my life it's not just my grandson and his death but it's also his mother and his father they're also part of my life and they're yeah they're with me all the time now so in a way they're more with me than they're more with me than ever


because of his death and because of his life who is next? hmm it's not necessarily beautiful no beauty is fundamentally I could start easy way to say it beauty is fundamentally free of any idea of beauty or beauty is


basically not beautiful and that's in the way that beauty is is awesome and terrible terrifies us the way things are awesome terrifies us and the way in that way that they are beyond our idea that's that's beauty the way things are like you know gobbling up the whole universe and the whole universe is gobbling everything up that's beauty and that's terrible and terrifying and makes us tremble and it's mysterious all that's beauty one of the poems written for this case was I think a person said something like something like his thoughts transform the thoughts of others I don't know if he said


the thoughts of others transform my thoughts but you know if you make a apple pie you have just transformed the thoughts of others when you do something in the physical world you just change the thoughts of other beings and also other beings have just transformed your thoughts into you making that pie that that shuttle working with the loom incorporating the patterns of spring that overwhelms any idea we have of the process and that's that's beauty and that's overwhelming and mysterious and you know and we can train to be present with that that


that crisis yes so might a better word be instead of beauty awesome yeah I wouldn't say it's better I'd just say that beauty is awesome and beauty is as Rilke said beauty is the beginning of a terror that you can just barely stand were we talking about avatar no we were talking about avatars at at Noah Boad avatars are messengers angels are messengers so some people say angels are messengers of God but also angels are messengers of reality of suchness and when that messenger comes it's tremendous it makes us tremble it's mysterious we're awestruck and if we take if we're tender


with our body and mind our body and mind becomes tenderized and like your friend probably has a tenderized your friend probably knows king's friend probably knows how to be tender and when you're tender you're more easily struck by beauty but struck by beauty means you're struck by this intimate relationship which you know which changes you and also it's the intimate relationship where you change others beauty is how others are changing us and we're changing others and we're doing that but also the way we're changing others and the way others are changing us the way others physical activity is changing our physical and mental life and vice versa that relationship is reality but when it comes to us


when we see it it looks like beauty we call it beauty so beauty and reality are pivoting on each other and there's danger and opportunity or there's some awesomeness in that pivoting and if we don't have awesomeness I would say it's because we're too busy to have awesomeness if we're not awesome it's because we've toughened ourselves we haven't we're not tender enough with beings and therefore not being tender we close the door on the awesomeness but every moment there's an opportunity to open up again to the terror


to the fear it's there it's part of our life it's not like it's not really sometimes there it's always there we're always with fear with frightened beings and if you're tender you feel it and if you feel it you're open to beauty and truth too and that's again always going on creation working her loom and shuttle that's always going on the tender relationship between the loom and the shuttle how are you feeling? oh, there it is here it is and we're a little bit afraid of telling somebody how we really are they might be insulted they might think we're I don't know what they might think I don't know what they might think but if I say fine


maybe they'll let me get by maybe I can get through this conversation if I say fine I also sometimes used to say people say how are you feeling? I say I've never been better and then you can easily get through that one but then I say and also I've never been worse and in fact I have never been better and I have never been worse almost always applies but if you say I've never been better they let you pass even even at even you know in security checks if they say how are you? you say never been better they let you through but if you say never been worse they might stop you and take you to a room or if you say I don't remember they might take you to a room but they might not


they might go wow what's going on here? but also some of them are not don't dare to be tender but not all of them some of them some of them maybe you know when they they've been trained you know to search you tenderly some of them are quite tender I get searched every time because of my clothes and I have a prosthetic in here so they I get searched every time and some of them are quite tender with me so I think you can do that job and be tender or not but we need to give the tenderness a chance which means you need to sort of like be willing to be here if we're rushing through the tenderness doesn't have much of a chance and Suzuki Roshi said


Zazen is the great tenderizer just sitting and being quiet is a really good tenderizer and again it doesn't the tenderization doesn't happen according to my schedule it could happen really quickly or it could take a long time and if I'm in a rush to get tender that tends to postpone the tenderness but some people don't even know that the tenderness will come if they sit still and they sit down and it just comes really fast and they're really surprised how quickly they become tender when they just put aside running around in circles and then once they know that it can happen then there may be a little bit more of a problem of like either trying to make it happen or postpone it because once you feel tender then tears might come and stuff like that which you may not


be used to but the meditation hall you're welcome to cry in this meditation hall you're welcome to feel tender here it's okay here we support you to feel tender to be tender we can handle that here and so you can too and you let us be tender we'll let you be tender and then we can open to beauty and in opening it to it it may you know find a good home before we even have a chance to call it beautiful and then we might say beautiful or not but instead of saying beautiful we might say I feel scared before we go too much further I just wanted to give you an assignment and the assignment is


to write a story of awakening a story of enlightenment okay write one make one up discover one in your own body and mind and it can be about any time of your life but I particularly would like you among if you can find it any time in your life that's fine but I also would like you to see if you can find one that's happened in this class in the last six weeks a story of enlightenment about things that have gone on here if you can't if you can find one please tell us and if you find one here and also outside of here those are also welcome and if you find both so please bring new springtime stories in the fall of enlightenment stories that you that your mind has made


about what's going on here that you can that you kind of feel like you would like to hold that story up as a story of awakening and if we we don't have time maybe to tell them all next week but I'd like you to write them down and send them to me and then we can talk about them for the rest of our life but this most of the stories we have been telling are stories that occur in situations like this where people are getting together to study the Dharma and then having conversations so I think there probably are some stories of enlightenment in this during these last six weeks in this room I think there are so if you discover any please write them down or anyway remember them and tell us about them please and who had their


hand raised Paul I think maintaining tenderness might be a a phase you go through in developing tenderness I think it's more tender to not trying to maintain tenderness so it's more tender to like if you're tender don't don't you know give up the tenderness that's more tender and I would say the tenderness is essential in Zen but the tenderness isn't the goal it's more like an essential an essential way of being to realize the goal which is to realize the truth


so we need to tender our body and mind as we grow up when we're when we're first born we're really quite tender infants are really quite tender I don't know if you've ever seen an infant but they have a reputation for being very tender you know they don't have they can't make any wise cracks they don't know how to defend themselves they're very and they're very sensitive and tender and then we we tend to to lose that tenderness as we grow up and then Zen practice is to help us recover the tenderness of of an infant which we may never get to that but try almost try to get back without getting rid of our adult nature to get back to that tenderness because in that tenderness the baby is quite open to the baby is very easily overwhelmed like they get a little bit hungry and they get a little and they get way overwhelmed by being a little hungry


a little bit warm a little bit cold a little bit irritated they get they are tender and sensitive to the universe and they can barely get by moment after moment they need lots of soothing and they need they need food and stuff and they need it's hard for them to close their eyes and go to sleep because they're so awestruck by life and they're awestruck because they're so tender so we want to get back through training to be awestruck again but we have to we have to like be able to take care of ourselves so we know okay I'm ready I I have confidence that sitting in this posture I can be awestruck and it's and it's going to be fine and then and then here it comes and yeah okay


we can live we can be generous and careful and tender and patient with this awe with this trembling mystery so we have to yeah so the tenderness is part of what comes with opening to the truth if we're not tender just like also when you when you, what do you call it take take your pulse if you don't press hard enough you can't feel it if you press too hard you can't feel it right now I can feel it but if I press real hard I won't feel it and if I don't press hard enough I don't feel it so it's a tender way of taking your pulse it's really nice it's grounding it's and one could even be overwhelmed by this by this pulse if you're tender so I think tenderness is part of the deal we need to be tender in order to open to this shuttle going through the


going through the loom in order to be open to creativity or creation we have to be tender with the elements of creation and the interactions of things but just tenderness itself isn't the whole story the whole story is the whole story which is transcends the stories it's the it's thusness okay okay yes pardon tonight you're welcome to read it if you like it left me in dust


dust dust thank you I was thinking about the ancient brocade yes we haven't said anything about that and I thought the loom is making the loom is improving upon there's this brocade it's not wool it's not somebody's cape I mean it's like the most elegant sophisticated complex piece of fabric I think they could probably make at the time when they first thought about it and so I was thinking about the brocade and the fact that they're building upon the brocade an ancient rich history of the Buddhist tradition


I would suspect right the Buddhist tradition human culture but you could also also say the ongoing masterpiece of creation so there's this ongoing masterpiece going on and we are contributing to it constantly we and together are constantly working this this masterpiece which includes everything and everybody the question is how to be with it in such a way to wake up to it and clearly observing is recommended as appropriate so it's your history each of your individual histories all of our histories and the history of


human culture and history of Buddhism it's all part of this brocade we're all artists we're all making masterpieces all the time that's already going on it's a question of waking up to it and there are suggestions of how to wake up to it and one of the suggestions is to pay attention to clearly observe another suggestion is don't be uptight about clearly observing it's like we talked about be generous be careful be patient diligent but also relax relax with this really important work of observing creation if we're not relaxed


then it's harder for us to see creation it's still going on but if we're not generous and careful and tender and patient and diligent then relaxation doesn't really work but if we do all that and we relax then we can be playful with this in order to join this process of creation we have to be able to play with it and then we can join the creativity and then we can access the reality of the process and be free of the process without stopping the process because again if you try to stop the process that's just another threat in the process and if you don't try to stop it it's another threat whatever we do it gets included and woven in the question is how to act wake up to that Ed Gringo it's the


there's a practice period going on and some of you know Ted Brown he's the head monk and he quoted Nina Simone and she said something like something like this I wish I could say all the things I could say when I'm relaxed do you know that Paul? do you know more about it? what's the name of the song? yeah I'll try to find out more about it but she realizes what can happen when we relax but again you can't relax without some discipline it's not a real so relaxation without discipline can be negligence so the relaxation which opens on to playfulness and creativity which awakens us to the creativity


that's already going on is a relaxation that has diligence supporting it and diligence following and diligence diligence without patience isn't really diligent and diligence without being tender isn't really diligence you can be firm and tender in your diligence yes you got the song okay I wish I knew how it would feel to be free shall we hear it? I wish I knew how it would feel to be free I wish I could break all the chains holding me I wish I could say all the things I should say say them loud and say them clear the whole round world here I wish I could share all the love that's in my heart remove all the bars and keep us apart


I wish you could know what it means to be me and you'd see and agree that everyone should be free and more did you get the part I did hear the relaxation yeah I wish I could give all I want to give I wish I could live I'm longing to live I wish that I could do all the things that I can do though I'm way overdue I'd be starting anew well I wish I could be like a bird in the sky how sweet it would be if I found every fly oh I'd soar to the sun and look down at the sea and as simple as I know I'd know how it feels to be free well the way that she saw it he added in relaxation and I think in order to be like a bird you need to be you have to relax a little bit thank you very much


oh also a phrase which I haven't been saying very often lately is a phrase from an ancient Zen teacher which said his teaching was meet whatever comes with complete relaxation